“Volunteering is the rent one pays for living in this world.”
Inspired by his sister's and father's volunteer work, Matthew Wettach, 16, of Mount Pleasant, IA, found his niche in providing school supply kits and other necessities for disadvantaged kindergarteners in his community.
What kind of philanthropic or volunteer work did/do you do?
Matthew: I co-founded the "Write Start" initiative to provide low-income and disadvantaged children with full school supply lists and backpacks for kindergarteners. I also follow up with Fall care packages. Last Christmas I launched a community drive called “Christmas Koats & Karebears for Kindergarteners”.
What is the name and location of the organization?
Matthew: Write Start, Mount Pleasant, IA.
Tell us about the project, especially who benefited from this work.
Matthew: Low-income and disadvantaged children who have participated in the Head Start program.
What inspired you to get involved?
Matthew: My sister inspired me by all of her volunteer work, and I wanted to make a difference and help children start off on the "write start" when they go to school.
How did you first get involved? Give us some details.
Matthew: I saw a need that children were not getting what they needed to start school, so I decided to fulfill that need.
What is/was the best thing about your experience?
Matthew: Seeing all my hard-earned summer money used on something that benefits others.
What is/was the hardest part?
Matthew: Getting the information out there and spreading the word for others to donate also.
What was the biggest surprise?
Matthew: That other teenagers like me want to get involved and make a difference.
What new things have you learned as a result of your experience and how have you changed as a result?
Matthew: The joy Write Start gives to those in need, and it has helped me become more compassionate towards others.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of getting involved in philanthropy or volunteering?
Matthew: I quote my dad, who always told me, “Volunteering is the rent one pays for living in this world.” Get out there and help others!
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