Matt Soeth — a 1997 Manteca High graduate — is combatting negativity among students over the Internet.
The “# I Can Help” founded by Soeth and Kim Karr has taken down over 1,000 negative websites so far across the U.S. and in Canada.
With the support of educators, the program has empowered students to quell negativity and bullying among their classmates themselves for some 350,000 students throughout 15 states with his non-profit social media education and leadership development program aimed at high school students.
Soeth taught video production, English and Student Leadership in California schools — Stagg in Stockton, Tracy High and Kimball High in Tracy — before launching the program. He also served on the board of the California Association of Directors of Activities (CADA) providing leadership training and technology integration in the schools.
Soeth is also an adjunct professor at the Teachers’ College of San Joaquin where he instructs teachers in technology and mobile applications as well as offering support to teacher interns. Soeth has been recognized nationally for providing quality professional development to staff and to students alike.
The @# I Can Help movement got its start when a student made a fake and disparaging social media page about a teacher that almost immediately drew 1,000 followers and was the center of school drama for some two weeks. Another student turned in the author of the page and it was taken down via peer pressure. A year later a different student created another fake page about another teacher – it was ignored by students.
“As educators, we experienced the rapid increase in social media use and the stress and anxiety that negative only behavior puts up school cultures,” Soeth said. “We wanted to empower teens with common sense approaches and not just protect them ourselves taking that second page down in 45 minutes and we realized we had hit upon something big.”
Soeth said there is no place for cyber bullying and harassment among student bodies today adding that it has become all too prevalent in too many schools.
The program has conducted over 100 school assemblies last year including one that took place two years ago at Sierra High School in Manteca. On Aug. 14 a program is being presented to the freshman class at Sierra High School. At the assemblies he passes out rocks to some of the students that have three little words on them. Y O U. He said that adds up to a simple statement: “You Rock!” recognizing their individuality.
Soeth said three teachers made a significant impact on him as a youth in addition to his parents. They were Mike Henry, Steve Winter and Bill Stricker.
On Sept. 17, Soeth will be giving a program at the Google offices in San Francisco with a feed for the You Tube viewers focusing on # I Can Help. He added that his program is being supported by major corporations including Adobe, Google, Twitter and a lot of gaming companies. In addition he was contacted this week by ESPN Radio.
Soeth earned his bachelor’s degree at U.C. Davis and his Masters’ Degree at UOP.
Matt and his wife Liz have two children at their home in Lodi; Virginia, 8 and Colin, 4.
To contact Glenn Kahl, email email@example.com.