“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless.
There is too much work to do.”
— Dorothy Day
Our mission is two-fold.
First, we work with local community leaders to build schools where they are desperately needed. Learning is every child’s right. The research is not ambiguous. When children go to school, they have a greater chance to live more productive and purposeful lives.
Second, we facilitate travel opportunities for paying volunteers. These volunteers come to our schools to contribute their time and talent. They come to bear witness to the hardships and struggles of children worldwide. They come to connect, and to discover that making a difference is not always what you think.
Our mission is tactile, tangible and spiritual.
Crossing Thresholds founder, Carter Via, was introduced to the Kibera Slum (Nairobi, Kenya) in 2007. As the second largest slum in the world and home to nearly 1.5 million Kenyans, it compelled him to respond. With hundreds of thousands of children out of school and malnourished, the need for schools and feeding programs was abundantly clear.
Thus in December 2008, Crossing Thresholds was incorporated as a 501c3 AND began its mission to build schools and holistic learning environments for underserved children. Our method was simple and straightforward – identify and enlist local grassroots leaders with a vision for educating children in the slum, employ local Kenyans to build and teach in our schools, and organize service-learning trips to bring volunteers into these projects.
Since 2008, Crossing Thresholds celebrates the following accomplishments:
Crossing Thresholds launched its first collaborative school-building initiative with grassroots leader, Agnes Musau. Agnes and CT worked tirelessly together for five years to transform an empty dirt lot into a school campus with ten classrooms, office space, a kitchen, dining hall, dormitory, and counseling center. Drug Fighters Primary School and Feeding Center now serves over 300 children in grades one to eight and, simultaneously, offers residential care to nearly 30 orphaned students.
In January 2011, CT established a partnership with Simeon Ajigo. Simeon’s vision was to create a safe environment in Kibera for the children of single mothers. With the added support of daycare, these women would have the freedom to pursue work outside the home. Simeon’s vision quickly grew to include a preschool, primary school, health clinic, and community outreach program for at-risk teenagers in the slum.
Facing the Future School (FAFU) serves over 300 children and provides each student with two meals per day. To further enrich the learning environment, CT helped launch a dynamic music program, a variety of sports programs, and much needed medical and therapeutic services.
Our most recent school-building project began in January 2016 with community leader, Asanya Bernard. Prior to this date, Asanya was feeding and educating more than 250 kids in unimaginable conditions. But his will and determination were unflappable. Following the purchase of a piece of land in 2015, CT initiated construction on the first building of the Mobjap (Garden of Hope) Primary School. In January 2017, CT plans to finish construction with additional classrooms, a dining hall and a library.
From the outset of our work in the Kibera Slum, we worried about our students upon graduation from the 8th grade. Less than 10% of those graduates have the opportunity to attend high school. These statistics ruin lives, and contribute to an array of social and economic problems.
To counter these realities, we began working with local community leader, Lawrence Kabuthi, in 2013. Lawrence approached Thresholds with a proposal to build a high school for orphans in a community 100 miles north of Nairobi. More than willing to negotiate, we collaboratively agreed to create a boarding school with space for local orphans AND rising 9th graders from Kibera. In February 2016, the high school opened its doors with an inaugural Freshman Class of 42 students.
Chris Shaida – Long Island City, NY
Kate Cummiskey – Norwalk, CT
Warren Licht – New York, NY
Katie Lethbridge – Yonkers, NY
Amanda DuBois – Bronxville, NY
David Squier – New Canaan, CT
Elizabeth Beinfield – Rowayton, CT
Mary Mackintosh – Bronxville, NY
Joseph French – Bronxville, NY
Timothy Kenefick – New Canaan, CT
Marina O’Malley – Ridgefield, CT
Faith Pedowitz – Bedford, NY
Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
Trips to Kenya are a dynamic and essential part of our mission. Only 9 days in length, these intensive experiences give volunteers the chance to learn about Kenyan culture and the realities of global poverty in one corner of the world. Trips are also about connection and engagement. Strangers become friends, and often decide to make a long-term investment in one another.
Since our incorporation in 2009, Crossing Thresholds has been leading trips to Kenya AND has traveled with nearly 500 trip participants. (Safety is of the utmost importance, and we are painstaking about every detail pertaining to the security and well-being of our volunteers.) During the first part of the trip, we are onsite at one of our schools in the Kibera Slum. At the end of each trip, we spend several days on safari at one of Kenya’s premiere national parks.
Many organizations lead great trips around the world. What might compel someone to choose Crossing Thresholds? Here are a few distinguishing characteristics:
The world is still beautiful, and extraordinarily diverse. Yet in countless ways, it is dis-connected and fraught with neglect, exploitation and injustice. By birth, millions of children are denied the simple chance to grow up and make something of their lives. Travel with us, and join our cause.
Friday, January 6th – Monday, January 16th
Friday, June 23rd – Monday, July 3rd
Friday, July 7th – Monday, July 17th
For less than a dollar a day, you can provide a student with the essential resources for one year of education: two meals a day, a school uniform, school supplies, and medical check-ups.
Most of the families in Kibera live on less than two dollars a day. Many children survive on one meal a day. Consequently, an enormous percentage of Kibera’s children are malnourished – a condition that arrests cognitive development and makes it nearly impossible to learn. Our schools provide their students with 2 meals a day. Help us to make sure every child is fed.
Kibera is home to more than 500,000 children, only half of whom are in school. While the 1,000 students at our schools are being fed, most families cannot afford a school uniform, a backpack, or basic school supplies. Additionally, families cannot afford regular medical checkups. Our commitment is to every child’s health and well-being.