An Instructional Program For Adolescent Activities

Students With
Alternative Needs

The SWAN Program is a voucher system to purchase small items needed for daily living
and school activities for students in school.


Many students feel embarrassed and awkward because they do not have the money for extracurricular activities or personal items. They feel estranged and not fully a part of the school community. A pattern begins that can lead to poor grades and possibly dropping out of school.

This module was developed to enable school personnel to pay for activity fees and to purchase needed personal items so students can fully participate in their school experience. The program is funded by donations from local men’ civic clubs, women’s organizations, school PTA/PTO, and churches. The funds are placed in a special account of a local church or 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves as the fiscal agent. Seldom is more than $200 needed by a school in a year’s time.

Since no federal or state funds are used in the SWAN Program, there is no need for complicated documentation or limitations on who is eligible, why they are eligible, what you can buy, and at what price. The program relies on the good common sense of local people to help students quickly and quietly. Any school personnel can tap the program on behalf of any student by talking to the designated teacher who writes the vouchers for the school. Sometimes the best referrals come from the school secretaries, cooks and bus drivers.


1.To promote the development and learning of students by purchasing non-medical items needed for daily living and school activities which are not covered by other programs.

2.To provide a safe location for and insure careful handling of donated funds by a local church or 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.

3.To provide a structure to enable a teacher or service coordinator to write a voucher to purchase needed items or to reimburse teachers for items purchased on behalf of the student.

4.To provide churches and 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations with the opportunity to help students in a personal and meaningful way.


This module was originally written to serve students with learning disabilities, but when it was established in several schools, it was immediately used to serve a wider range of students. Many students with limited support from home face problems that a few dollars, provided in a timely and confidential manner, could solve. At the same time, many local 501 (c)(3) nonprofit groups would be glad to help if they knew of the student’s situation. This module makes the donated funds readily accessible to the school personnel to help the student. The outside parameters can be set by the local executive committee. Any teacher or school personnel can request a voucher on behalf of any student.


This program will be an ongoing effort. Funds should be raised (approximately $200 annually) and maintained within a church or 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization account and made available year round. Estimated set up time--three months.


The following documents are provided as attachments at the back of this Module and can be freely copied or modified to suit local needs.

1..Store Voucher: a form to be filled out by the designated teacher or service coordinator, and taken by the student and/or family to the merchant to purchase the item.

2.Teacher Voucher: a form to be filled out by the designated teacher or service coordinator to reimburse the teacher for items purchased on behalf of a student.

3.Store Instructions: instructions on how to accept vouchers and invoice the specific church or 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization with the SWAN account.

4.Account Records: a general ledger account example that should be kept by both the teacher or service coordinator and the church or 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization treasurer.

5.SWAN Logos: to be used for posters, letters, etc.


Any school or group of schools that are willing to join in a cooperative effort.


The SWAN Program needs a champion, like a designated teacher, service coordinator, school nurse, or counselor, who is willing to receive requests and write vouchers on behalf of the student. They should be a part of the school system, be known by the school faculty, and be directly involved with the students. The responsibilities are not great. Seldom will the program require more than two vouchers a month, and most of the record keeping will be handled by the church or nonprofit organization.

The SWAN Program needs a church or 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization to keep and handle the donated funds as a fiscal agent. Funds should be kept in a separate account. As student vouchers come in from cooperating stores, or teacher vouchers come in to reimburse teachers for paying for items purchased on behalf of the student, a check should be written for reimbursement. All the vouchers will remain with the church or 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization so an administrative review of the program can be done at any time.

We have never had any resistance from local stores in cooperating with the program. They often have accounts already set up for local churches and nonprofit organizations. As they send out their monthly statements, they just add the vouchers to the statement. The important thing is to give the store a file folder with the store instructions and a sample voucher so they can honor the vouchers without phone calls and confusion.

Each program should also have a champion organization to seek donations and to support the designated school personnel. Most often, the school personnel is already a member of the organization. In Jackson County, West Virginia, the champion organizations are women church groups, school PTO’s, Home Makers Clubs, and Lions Clubs.


The SWAN Program is meant to be a quiet, supportive program. It does not need promotion beyond presentations to obtain funding from local 501 (c)(3) nonprofit or church groups. One or two presentations a year will attract the $200 needed to keep the program operations.


Evaluation is an important part of any program. At the end of a full school year, the executive committee should evaluate how well the SWAN Program has worked to support students. They should prepare and submit a financial report to the church or 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization for their yearly tax reporting purposes. Although not a requirement, the Office of Maternal and Child Health, West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, is very interested in your evaluation as an ongoing monitoring of the SWAN Program. Mail your evaluations to: