About our Mission

Our mission is two-fold.

First, we identify local community leaders who are committed to building schools where they are desperately needed. Together, we build those schools. Learning is every child’s right. 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 can be easier and more impactful than you think.

Our mission is hands-on, and inspires hope.

 
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Our Story

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.

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 community 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:

  • The construction and opening of 3 primary schools – Drug Fighters, Facing the Future, and Mobjap

 

  • A newly formed relationship with a 4th Community Leader with plans to build our next primary school in 2018

 

  • The construction and opening of our first high school (100 miles north of Nairobi); at present, the high school is home to 150 students (orphans from the local community AND graduates from our primary schools in the Kibera Slum)

 

  • In TOTAL, more than 1000 children being fed and educated at our primary schools and high school

 

  • At each of our schools, a variety of enrichment programs including drama, a nationally awarded music program, girls empowerment, and more

 

  • An ever expanding Kenyan staff including an in-country director, logistics coordinator, music director, and nurse. We ALSO employ contractors, architects, masons, carpenters, and day laborers as needed

 

  • Full scholarships for 12 students from Kibera attending elite high schools, colleges and universities
 
 
 Drug Fighters School

Drug Fighters School

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.

 
 Facing the Future School

Facing the Future School

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 support of daycare, these women were given the freedom to pursue work outside the home. Simeon’s vision quickly grew to include a preschool, primary school, 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. In 2017, CT purchased abutting property and put a beautiful playground on site. The kids were beyond happy!

 
 Mobjap School

Mobjap School

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. Undeterred by circumstances, he remained proactive and determined. After purchasing a piece of land in 2015, CT initiated construction on the first building of the Mobjap (Garden of Hope) Primary School. In 2017, the second building was completed with additional classrooms and space for a dining/assembly hall. For a full year, the campus was the joyous home for 350 children.

**In December 2017, a tragic fire in the neighborhood spread and destroyed Mobjap. For Asanya and the community, it was a devastating blow. Our immediate response was to rent space so the children could continue their schooling. At the same time, we began to raise funds for the purpose of re-building their beloved learning center. Beginning this June (2018), the rebuild will start. For ways to support this initiative, please visit our “Opportunities” page.

 
 Crossing Thresholds High School

Crossing Thresholds High School

From the outset of our work in the Kibera Slum, we were concerned 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.

Since then, two more 9th grade classes have arrived bringing the student body to 150 students. The school takes pride in a beautiful setting, an active garden, and a brand new Science Lab.

 
 
 
 Center of Hope Primary School

Center of Hope Primary School

 

In 2017, we discovered the inspired community leader, Isabel Omondi. In a small rented house, Isabel was feeding and educating nearly 100 children (nursery school through 4th grade). The space was cramped, but bright and positive. With a vision for encouraging imaginative and critical thinking, Isabel implemented her own hybrid curriculum –conjoining elements of the Montessori approach with standard Kenyan subjects.  Acknowledging her desire to build a much bigger school and expand her impact, CT has purchased a piece of land in Kibera AND plans to break ground in January 2019.

Our Partners

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Drug Fighters School

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.

FAFU School.JPG

Facing The Future School

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 support of daycare, these women were given the freedom to pursue work outside the home. Simeon’s vision quickly grew to include a preschool, primary school, 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. In 2017, CT purchased abutting property and put a beautiful playground on site. The kids were beyond happy!

Untitled5.png

Mobjap School

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. Undeterred by circumstances, he remained proactive and determined. After purchasing a piece of land in 2015, CT initiated construction on the first building of the Mobjap (Garden of Hope) Primary School. In 2017, the second building was completed with additional classrooms and space for a dining/assembly hall. For a full year, the campus was the joyous home for 350 children.

**In December 2017, a tragic fire in the neighborhood spread and destroyed Mobjap. For Asanya and the community, it was a devastating blow. Our immediate response was to rent space so the children could continue their schooling. At the same time, we began to raise funds for the purpose of re-building their beloved learning center. Beginning this June (2018), the rebuild will start. For ways to support this initiative, please visit our “Opportunities” page.

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Crossing Thresholds High School

From the outset of our work in the Kibera Slum, we were concerned 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.

Since then, two more 9th grade classes have arrived bringing the student body to 150 students. The school takes pride in a beautiful setting, an active garden, and a brand new Science Lab.

IMG_0981.jpg

Center of Hope Primary School

In 2017, we discovered the inspired community leader, Isabel Omondi. In a small rented house, Isabel was feeding and educating nearly 100 children (nursery school through 4th grade). The space was cramped, but bright and positive. With a vision for encouraging imaginative and critical thinking, Isabel implemented her own hybrid curriculum –conjoining elements of the Montessori approach with standard Kenyan subjects.  Acknowledging her desire to build a much bigger school and expand her impact, CT has purchased a piece of land in Kibera AND plans to break ground in January 2019.


Our Staff

Aly Luiso

Director of Programs

Carter Via

Executive Director

James (Jimmy) Kamau

Project Manager

Magdalene Bariki

Logistics Manager


Our Board

Kristin Selvala

New Canaan, CT

Chris Shaida

Long Island City, NY

Warren Licht

New York, NY

Katie Lethbridge

Yonkers, NY

David Squier

New Caanan, CT

Amanda DuBois

Bronxville, NY

Mary Mackintosh

Bronxville, NY

Elizabeth Beinfield

Rowayton, CT

Timothy Kenefick

New Caanan, CT

Joseph French

Bronxville, NY

Faith Pedowitz

Bedford, NY

Marina O'Malley

Ridgefield, CT