William Sanford Matheson is Making a Difference

Matheson raised $450 to purchase stuffed animals for children visiting Oklahoma Family Legal Advocates.

Children drag their well-loved teddy bears everywhere. They may be toys, but they can make children feel safe and loved. Everyone deserves to feel safe and loved, and this was the idea behind 13-year-old William “Will” Sanford Matheson’s school project. Will, who will be an eighth grader this fall at Thoreau Demonstration Academy, raised funds to help those in need of a little extra love. Going door-to-door Will raised $450, which he then used to purchase 71 brand-new stuffed animals to give to children who visit Oklahoma Family Legal Advocates.

TK: How did you come up with the idea for your “making a difference project”?

Will: I am in the Gifted and Talented program a Thoreau Demonstration Academy. My teacher, Ms. Gordon, challenged our class to do a project to make a difference in the lives of others. Our class watched a movie called “Pay It Forward.” The movie was about a student who was given an assignment by a social studies teacher. The assignment was to come up with an idea that would change the world for the better, then complete the project and make a difference in someone’s life. Our teacher asked each student in our class to come up with a project to help our community.

TK: What inspired your idea?

Will: My stepdad is a board member of Oklahoma Family Legal Advocates (OKFLA). This organization helps kids who are in foster care. OKFLA provides free legal and social services to help kids get out of the foster care system. I hoped that when kids were given a stuffed animal when they first come to OKFLA, they might not be so scared and would become more comfortable.

TK: How did you raise the funds?

Will: I raised money by knocking on doors in my neighborhood. I told my neighbors about my school project and I told them about how OKFLA helps kids in foster care. I asked for donations so that I could buy stuffed animals to give to the kids who come to OKFLA for help. I also asked for the donor’s name and address. I provided this information to OKFLA so that each donor could receive more information about the organization.

TK: Why did you pick stuffed animals?

Will: I decided to pick stuffed animals because I thought it might help comfort kids. Kids might be scared or nervous when they first meet the staff at OKFLA. Having a new stuffed animal to hold might help them not to feel so scared.

TK: What advice do you have for other kids who want to make a difference?

Will:Don’t be afraid to get involved in your community. Get creative. There are a lot of different ways to help others. In the beginning, I was really nervous to go door to door asking for donations, but after a few times, I realized that people want to help others.

TK: Who inspires you?

Will: Gabe Newell. He developed the steam platform. He owns a company that develops games and software. The company he owns is called Valve.

TK: What are your goals for the future?

Will: I hope to go to Booker T. Washington High School. Booker T. has a good computer science program. My goal for the future is to get a college degree in computer engineering.

TK: What are your hobbies?

Will: I like spending time with my friends, I like gaming and creating art on 3-D software.

TK: Can you tell me a fun fact about yourself?

Will: My fastest time for solving a Rubik’s Cube is 56 seconds!


Categories: Features, Tweens & Teens