Tutor Outreach Uniting Commuities for Change
TOUCCh was created and continues to be run by volunteer college students with a passion for social justice. We are a small group with some pretty big ideas; we believe education is power and that everyone should have equal access to quality education.
All of our programs are based on partnership with the communities we serve and are aimed at empowering those communities. TOUCCh is not a charity nor do we see ourselves as the answer to any problem, we are simply lighthouses illuminating the way.
- Promote education in undeserved/low income communities.
- Narrow the widening gap between public school systems and migrant families.
- Provide positive alternatives to gang violence and drug use.
- Promote awareness of social injustice by bringing communities together who may not otherwise have contact.
How We Do This
Student volunteers travel from San Jose to Watsonville three times a week to provide programs such as free ESL classes for adults and tutoring/mentorship programs for children. We work primarily with migrant farmworker families because of their particularly strained life circumstances. By traveling so far out of their comfort zones, geographically and emotionally, volunteers have a once in a lifetime opportunity to not only learn about other communities and cultures, but to do so by developing real human connections with adults and children in the communities we serve.
The one thing that makes us fairly unique is the approach we take. Borrowing from the Brazilian educator Paolo Freire, we believe education should be participatory in all stages. What does that mean? Unlike traditional education in which students are seen as empty vessels to be filled, we believe our students can teach us just as much or more than we could ever teach them so every program we develop is designed in partnership with the community. From the moment we enter a community we ask them about their concerns, struggles, hopes and dreams and we work to unite them with resources that will help them overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams. In other words, we believe the people we serve already possess the tools and the strength to succeed, they just need a little boost.
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