Touchstones is committed to building strategic partnerships.
Touchstones partners with organizations that share a vision of a world where every person has a voice and is an engaged part of a community that recognizes and values diverse perspectives and skills. These partnerships make the Touchstones Discussion Project’s and our mutual work stronger, more effective, and able to foster greater understanding and collaboration among more people. Through partner organizations, Touchstones programming has reached, empowered, and benefited tens of thousands of children and adults through improved academic and work-force readiness–building their skills and confidence to make a difference in the world. For educators, Touchstones continuing professional development has increased a sense of community and their own efficacy in meaningfully shaping the lives of their students.
This work is possible both through Touchstones’ own contributions to the public in the form of free training, materials, and programming and through charitable contributions. Gifts from the public help to ensure that Touchstones is able to run programming, offer professional training for facilitators from partner organizations, offer continuing professional support, develop new program materials for a specific population or region, adapt and translate existing Touchstones materials for programs in other cultures and languages, and provide partner organizations with our proven educational materials at little or no cost. Touchstones acknowledges the Laurie Michaels Donor Advised Fund through the Aspen Community Foundation for supporting our work within under-served communities.
Touchstones programs are in more than 38 countries and have been translated into at least six languages. Here are some of the partners within the United States and around the world who are helping or have helped to bring Touchstones discussions to the populations they serve.
* Indicates organizations receiving free services and materials from Touchstones
*Annapolis Senior Center – Annapolis, MD. Touchstones has had a successful partnership with the Annapolis Senior Center for many years and is pleased to be offering free on-site programming in 2014 thanks to contributions from the public.
*Boys and Girls Club of Annapolis – Annapolis, MD. Touchstones ran an inter-general program with adolescent girls and adult women in which participants worked together to better understand the challenges they face as women in our society.
*Cecil County Public Schools – Cecil County, MD. In 2012, Cecil County adopted the Touchstones Discussion Project programming as a central part of the English-Language Arts curriculum for grades 3 through 12. As part of the district’s wide-scale implementation, Touchstones provided pro bono professional services for curriculum coordinators and more than a 100 district administrators. In 2013, CCPS had a core team of teachers, supervisors, and trainers receive intensive Touchstones training. That team now provides district-wide support for teachers using Touchstones.
*Chance Academy – Mt. Rainier, MD. CHANCE Academy is an alternative education serving urban youth who seek an early college and college preparatory experience that will both challenge and support them in their desire to rise to their academic potential. Touchstones is a central part of Chance Academy’s vision to cultivate students who are engaged and successful members of our society.
*Civic Leadership Foundation – Chicago, IL. CLF’s mission is to develop, fund and promote leadership education programs for youth. By launching and supporting programs, convening thought leaders, and fostering collaboration among organizations committed to leadership education, CLF is empowering the current and future leaders of the 21st century.
Community College of the District of Columbia – Washington, DC. The Community College of the District of Columbia (CCDC) serves the City’s residents by integrating workforce preparation, employability skill development, quality education and remediation, economic development and employer linkages, school-to-career training—providing a seamless transition from K-12 to adult education and literacy to college prep—and continuous lifelong learning.
ETC Montessori Materials and Consulting – Houston, TX. ETC Montessori develops, publishes, and distributes curricula and provides training to the Montessori community both in the United States and abroad.
*Girl Talk – Eastport, MD. This program for girls grades five through seven provides a safe and open environment for the discussion of subjects central to adolescence and healthy maturation.
* Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup and Jessup Correctional Institution – Jessup, MD. For more than 20 years, Touchstones has been running discussion programs in Maryland’s prisons. Funded entirely through charitable contributions from the public to Touchstones, these weekly programs include volunteers from the larger community who co-participate with the prisoners. Unlike other prison programs in which experts or professionals deliver a service to the incarcerated, in Touchstones the participants come together on equal footing to learn from and to teach each other through collaborative exploration of society’s foundational constructs.
*NAACP – Anne Arundel County Branch – Annapolis, MD. “The vision of the Anne Arundel County Branch of the NAACP is to ensure a culture in which all individuals have equal rights and there is no racial hatred or discrimination.”
SEED at UVA – Charlottesville, VA. “SEED is a passionate group of students committed to fostering sustainable development in communities around the world. We do this by giving free consulting services to NGOs and social entrepreneurs wherever they need us, with an emphasis on sound microfinance. By forging long-term relationships, we are able to increase the efficacy and efficiency of our partners, and intensify the positive social change in their communities.” SEED generously provided two teams to work with Touchstones in 2011 and 2012.
*Stanton Center – Annapolis, MD. Touchstones discussions have been part of after school and summer programming at the Stanton Center for a number of years. Some programs are run by local college students as volunteers. Others, such as the Boys Group in 2012, which was funded by a grant from Parole Rotary Club, are run by Touchstones staff.
*Wicomico County Board of Education – Salisbury, MD. Touchstones has long been a part of Wicomico County’s educational programming to ensure that students are prepared with 21st Century skills. As more emphasis is placed nationally on students’ abilities to locate, read and interpret, and evaluate information of various forms, Touchstones programs help teachers to deliver on those goals. Wicomico’s Debbie Wilkins, who teaches at North Salisbury Elementary, was selected in 2011 as the Cynthia M. Barry Touchstones Teacher of the Year.
* Indicates organizations receiving free services and materials from Touchstones
Bureau of French Education – Province of Manitoba – Winnipeg, Manitoba. In partnership with the Bureau of French Education, eight Touchstones core volumes were translated into French for use with the Province’s 30,000 French Immersion and French Language students. Touchstones trained a core team within the Bureau of French Education to roll out province-wide teacher professional development and program implementation.
*Beyond Borders – Haiti. Beyond Borders is a national, bilingual, volunteer organization advancing the rights of children everywhere to be free from sexual abuse and exploitation. We are a registered charity without political or religious affiliation.
Beyond Borders is the Canadian representative of ECPAT International, a global network of more than 82 groups in 75 countries. Touchstones programs have been a part of Beyond Borders work in Haiti for more than a decade.
*The Children’s Place Association – Chicago and Haiti. The Children’s Place Association transforms the lives of children in the very worst circumstances – those confronting illness and extreme poverty. They help them overcome challenges so they can lead their best lives. Within the Children’s Place Association’s New Ventures Program, Touchstones is used to build thinking, communication, and leadership skills as part of the program’s goals to foster entrepreneurial and civic leadership among its participants while providing essential support services for the families it serves.
Escola Americana do Recife – Recife, Brazil. Escola Americana do Recife, or EAR, uses Touchstones across grades 4-12 to strengthen student fluency in English while building speaking, listening, collaboration, and leadership skills.
*Ghanaian Mother’s Hope – Ghana. Thanks to a local Touchstones prison program volunteer who also volunteers for Ghanaian Mother’s Hope, in 2010, a shipment of supplies from the U.S. to Ghana included Touchpebbles and Touchstones materials for use with mothers and children.
*Haiti Partners – Haiti. Touchstones has been a part of Haiti Partners’ work since their inception and is a central component of the Circle of Change programming that offers participants a range of tools to create stronger and more effective communities. In this short film about Circles of Change, you can see Touchstones in action in Haiiti.
*Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Ministry of Education – Amman, Jordan. Since the early 2000s, Touchstones materials have been used within the Ministry of Education in Jordan to begin preparing their students for increased success in an emerging world. Touchstones is used in Jordan’s schools to overcome student passivity and to help teachers learn new pedagogical tools that encourage creative thinking. As part of Jordan’s education reform act, Touchstones has trained more than 700 hundreds teachers in-country, created teacher training and student program materials specifically for the region, translated existing program materials into Arabic, and made programming available to more than 600,000 of Jordan’s middle and high school students.
*Organization for Liberal Education in Georgia – Country of Georgia. “We believe that liberal education, an education consisting of careful listening, respect, and thoughtful reflection, is the best foundation for individuals and democratic societies; as such, we conduct programs to connect individuals through cross-cultural exchanges of ideas and human resources between the U.S. and Georgia, all to extend the benefits of liberal education.” The Touchstones Discussion Project has provided training and program materials for OLEG at no cost.
*Pre-Collegiate Program – Yangon, Myanmar. The Pre-Collegiate Program in Yangon has used Touchstones since 2002 to prepare students for more effective engagement in a global community. Hundreds of students have strengthened their essential communication and leadership skills through Touchstones programs in the Pre-Collegiate Program at the Diplomatic School and now at Lumbini Academy. Through the Pre-Collegiate Program, Touchstones has been approved by the Burmese government and has been translated into Burmese. Touchstones is currently used in both languages to address different needs within the Myanmar population.
*Southern Africa Environment Project – Cape Town, South Africa. SAEP is an award-winning non-profit dedicated to serving children and youth in the impoverished informal settlements (townships) of Cape Town through academic support and personal development programs. SAEP helps beneficiaries realize their potential by helping them build academic and life skills, prepare for productive employment, and contribute as leaders to South Africa’s economic and social development. Touchstones has been a part of SAEP’s programming for nearly 10 years.