Leadership Marshfield Group Project: Best First Day

submitted photos

Leadership Marshfield Project Helps Kid Have “Best First Day”

Throughout the next couple of weeks, FOCUS will take a deeper look at some of this year’s Leadership Marshfield projects.


Background: The purpose and objective of Leadership Marshfield is to identify current and potential leaders in the community and provide a training program that will enhance their ability to function as more effective leaders. They will be better equipped to face the issues, problems, and challenges that will determine our community’s future.

Leadership Marshfield is a program of the Marshfield Area Chamber Foundation supported by the Leadership Council, volunteers, Chamber staff, and a strong Alumni network.
MACCI’s first Leadership Class graduated in May 1993. The 2018 class was recruited in the summer of 2017. Members participate in a series of eight informative one-day programs and develop group projects designed to meet each individual’s interests and community needs.

The purpose of the community project is to provide participants with an additional educational experience beyond the monthly sessions. Participants select their projects after learning about opportunities confronting the community and according to their interests.


Project Name: Best First Day

Team Members: Chase Gomez of PreventionGenetics, Kathy Leick of Marshfield Utilities, Jen Morrow of Pioneer Bank, Mike Warren of WDLB, and Tammie Willfahrt of Figi’s Companies, Inc.

With the vision to enrich the lives of the future by having every kid dressed with confidence, one Leadership Marshfield project group is working with Cheryl Hartl, Director of Soup or Socks (SOS), to provide new back-to-school clothes for qualifying area families.

“Last year SOS was able to outfit almost 100 children (shoes, socks, underwear, two outfits and winter gear), but the need is far greater,” said Leick. “Our goal is to serve at least 200 children this year.”

The idea for the project originated during a presentation from Paula Jero, Director of Marshfield Area United Way, who told the Leadership Marshfield class that SOS might need help in providing clothing to area children in need for back to school.

“We recognize that beginning the first day of school with new shoes and proper clothing are basics that give children confidence, ultimately aiding in their education and future,” said Leick. “With some area families struggling to provide this due to financial hardships, we hope our Best First Day project can help.”

“I loved going shopping for clothing for the first day of school with my mom,” said Hartl. “I carried that into my parenting as well with my children. It has always tore at my heart to know that there are many children who do not get that experience.”

Children who attend the event will experience a “shopping feel,” as a volunteer goes with each family with a shopping cart and helps them choose clothing items. After making their selections, they enter the “checkout” area where everything is bagged or boxed and made ready for them to take home.

“It is a great day,” said Hartl. “Last year, one young student looked around at all the tables of clothing and said, ‘I can’t believe there are people out there that did all of this for families like ours.’”

The group will kick off their project by hosting a new clothing drive in March to collect the most-needed items, which include new tennis shoes, new leggings /athletic pants, new hoodies and new socks for boys and girls grades 4K – 12.

Tracey Folz at Marshfield Utilities starting us off with 2 bags of donations. Submitted photo.

Public locations with drop boxes include Hotel Marshfield, Hub City Times, MACCI, Marshfield Clinic Health System YMCA, Pioneer Bank in Marshfield and Rozellville, Shopko, and Three Oaks Health Services. Four private businesses are also collecting donations, and campaign posters have been distributed throughout Marshfield.

The project will conclude on August 8 at SOS, at which time clothing will be provided to registered families. Volunteers are needed for set-up on August 6 and August 7, and for clean-up on August 9. Contact Cheryl at SOS if interested: [email protected]

“Our Best First Day team, along with Cheryl Hartl of SOS, are sincerely grateful for the outpouring of support already shown by businesses and individuals in the community,” said Leick.