W1shfu1 Th1nk1ng launches new tutoring program

Dr. Gerald Ortiz (right) with Wishful thinking’s Matt Moller (2nd from left) and members of the homework club.
Photo by Scott Mulford.

The W1shfu1Th1nk1ng (Wishful Thinking) Homework Club tutoring program is now available for local students who need help with their schoolwork. The effort was launched Tuesday night at Amsterdam’s Creative Connections Arts Center.

“We do a lot more besides basketball,” W1shfu1 Th1nk1ng Chief Financial Officer Matt Moller said. “Education is more important. We asked ourselves how can we take tutoring and expand it.”

Moller got the idea to create a tutoring program as he was coaching basketball and was approached by kids who needed help with schoolwork.

Matt Moller with AHS student Anfernee Aponte. Photo by Scott Mulford.

“We presented the idea to Amsterdam Recreation Director Robert Spagnola and talked with Dr. Gerald Ortiz (of the Montgomery County Medical Society), and presented it to Mayor Ann Thane,” Moller said. “Rob said he had a classroom at Creative Connections.”

The room initially wasn’t big enough but Moller had ideas to expand the space.

“A light bulb went off in my head. I did the layout for this place and saw room to expand. There’s now a closet converted into a room for test taking.”

The study room at Creative Connections. Photo by Scott Mulford

Tuesday marked the official start of the program. Any student seeking help with their studies is welcome to come in. The Homework Club will be available at the Creative Connections Arts Center on Main Street on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 6pm to 9pm and on Wednesday’s from 7pm to 9pm. This coming Thursday night will also be an activity night and the documentary film Hoop Dreams will be shown.

“Anyone who comes in can get help,” Moller said. “They aspire to be something better. They have to put a step forward. Having too many kids is a good problem to have.”

During the first hour of the program 16 students had signed up and they were expecting more. The program received a boost in getting off the ground from  Montgomery County Medical Society.

“This is something the community needs,” Ortiz, who was there representing the society which donated to the project. “This is something the medical community will support. Getting the community involved is a great concept.”

W1shfu1 Th1nk1ng will continue it’s involvement in the community with more events in the spring and throughout the year. A “Zumbathon” will be held May 4th at Bacon Recreation Center. A “Sneak Peek” sneaker trade show will be held the Amsterdam Riverfront Center on May 10th from 10am to 4pm. There will be a “Cops and Joggers” event which will help benefit the Amsterdam Police Dept. On April 19th.

The organization will also participate in the Montgomery County Youth Veteran’s Spring Cleanup on April 26th.

“Kids volunteer their time and go to veterans houses and help clean up,” W1shfu1 Th1nk1ng President TJ Czeski said.

Czeski along with Moller, organization Vice President John Sumpter and a dozen others including Amsterdam students Marcus Pritchard and Andrew Rouse as well as head teacher Dannielle Digiacomo form the staff of tutors who help the students.

“We’re ready to be a positive outlet for kids,” said Moller. “This is a positive outlet for educational purposes. In order to better our community we need to start with our children.”

While the Homework Club has the goal of helping students and improving their GPA, W1shfu1 Th1nk1ng, a not for profit organization, is setting it’s goals higher for the near future.

“We want to be in our own recreation center,” Moller said. “We want to build it in two years. We will do the fund-raising and get communities involved and have it up and running.”

Moller mentioned the site raiseamilli.com, where you can make an online donation, and the idea of printing t-shirts with the address as initial steps to reaching its goal.

“We want to be self-sufficient,” Czeski added. “We want to change the culture of Amsterdam. Change the way people think of Amsterdam. People will want to be a part of it.”

W1shfu1 Th1nk1ng vice President John Sumpter took it further when asked about the organizations future.

“I want W1shfu1 Th1nk1ng to be national,” he said. “We started from nothing and took our actions to the community without funds. The only thing we spent was our time. It takes time, and when people invest time, change becomes possible. Do something positive to help a child out today.”

“We had a vision and it reflects in the programs we put out,” said Casey Martin one of the co-founders of W1shfu1 Th1nk1ng. “We’ve come a long way in a short time. People enjoy what we do. The possibilities are endless.”


Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.