In addition to Touchstones being in international k-12 school and post-secondary programs, Touchstones also exits the classroom and enters the broader community. Touchstones empowers individuals to realize he or she has a voice, which allows for the development of fundamental skills such as active listening, clear communication, collaboration, and leadership. These skills are crucial for healthy citizenship within one’s community. This is why Touchstones is in 47 different countries and select texts have been translated from English into Arabic, Burmese, French, Haitian Kreyol, and Spanish.
For example, in the 1990s, Touchstones entered Haiti for the first time. Known in Haiti as “Wonn Refleksyon” or “Circles of Reflection” (because there is no translation into Kreyol for the word “touchstones”), Touchstones first partnered with Fondasyon Limye Lavi to bring Touchstones school programs into conventional primary schools, adult literacy and workforce readiness programs, and community-based initiatives.
A number of volumes of Touchstones materials were translated into Kreyol for immediate use, which spread to the Circles of Change project within the Beyond Borders program. In 2009, that program received acclaim by WorldBlu, whose mission is “to acknowledge the most successful organizations in the world that are choosing to operate, not using the traditional, command and control model of business, but a democratic model based freedom and possibility.” Since its introduction to Haiti, more than 60,000 volumes of Touchstones texts have been printed, at least 50,000 of which have been distributed for school and community programs.
Touchstones programming has been widely used to empower a range of participants—from teachers and educational administrators to victims of violent crime and children and families afflicted with HIV and other life-altering illnesses—to gain essential academic, communication, and collaboration skills. For some, Touchstones serves as a much-needed professional development tool. For others, it is a highly effective means for addressing issues of social justice by empowering participants to overcome the barriers inherited through economic impoverishment and political marginalization. Organizations such as Fonkoze, which uses microfinance opportunities to help small business get started, also use Touchstones to ensure that striving entrepreneurs and other business people have the skills they need to organize their ideas, articulate their vision, and build collaborative teams within their businesses.
To learn more about Touchstones Discussion Project’s methods and materials, please contact us. We are happy to help you select the Touchstones volume or volumes appropriate for your community, and to offer the guidance and support you will need to begin working with Touchstones.