Tandem is an organization that works with heart and creativity to empower families to support their young childrens' development using that age-old favorite--books!--as a catalyst and starting point for kids and their adult friends to cuddle up, tell stories, talk about pictures and words and life experiences....all of which build healthy brains in kids and set them up for success in school and life. Tandem's staff are experts in how to do this in all kinds of cultural and community settings. Now 10 years old, Tandem is entering our second decade with the leadership of our new ED, Dr. Savitha Moorthy, who brings a wealth of experience gained through research, on-the-ground community programming, and as the mom of a 3 year old. She brings expertise in STEM programming for early learners so we are excited to see how Tandem builds upon our core activities to reach more families and stretch us all in new directions.
Tandem is innovative and responsive to the community in its focus on improving early literacy --it has identified that by sparking joy in reading in kids and their families we can also help to close the achievement gap. Social justice and joyfulness are not often expressed as synergistic outcomes. One example of the way Tandem listens to the community is in the development of the new Literacy Champions program--which trains community members to work with their own peers to promote early literacy and spread the word about its importance in early brain development. Empowering for the Champions and effective spread of how to help children learn through reading.
Our company, UserTesting, worked with Tandem to engage the folks up at our San Francisco office. The Tandem volunteer that lead the group activity (StoryBlocks) was very engaging, personable, and made the activity a lot of fun for everyone. In addition to this, people really appreciated having an understanding of what kind of impact the project we were working on would have on the local community. The Tandem volunteer was also very accommodating and provided us with more than enough flexibility to get even more people involved during (and even after) the event than we initially planned! All in all, we had a great experience, would absolutely love to partner with Tandem again, and highly recommend reaching out to them if you'd like to make a difference in your community!
We, here at UserTesting, had the best experience working with Tandem Bay Area! StoryBlocks is an awesome project for corporate groups, and it was fun to see people work together in creative ways. Lucas was our activity guide, and he helped to keep everything light hearted and easy to understand (those blocks aren't as easy to put together as one might think!). Additionally, Lucas was kind enough to let us hold onto some materials so that other people who weren't able to participate also had an opportunity to contribute on their own time! Knowing what kind of impact these blocks have on children was a message that, I think, was also really driven home. Would absolutely work with them again.
Tandem does excellent work in Early Childhood Education, with a very caring, hard-working staff. They run programs in three counties, and help with far more than just book bags. Every child should be able to read! They educate parents, medical professionals, and generally care a lot about helping to provide improved Early Childhood Education to all children.
Our group of about 35 people had SUCH a wonderful experience working with Lulu who came in to our corporate HQ in order to give back for a few hours at the end our our 2-day leadership meeting.
Not only was her "ice breaker" so much fun as we got to know one another better, but she also explained and showed us where the Storyblocks that we created, who they would be going to and how they would help those in our community.
So thankful for all of the dedication and beneficial work that Tandem is doing throughout the San Francisco bay community! The community is so lucky to have you.
Best Storyteller and Literacy Partners. We are so blessed to have such a positive resource for weekly book bags to come home and for joining our major community events such as National Read for the Record night. The engagement is endearing and the access to books through lending and giving to families for intimate and group learning is an added bonus to anyone's life. Engaging young learners and showing them how fun stories can be only added to curiosity and more learning for our children with their families and Tandem's excellent staff.
Tandem really has a standout and positive approach to keep it positive and engaging.
I give to Tandem because I loved reading books as a kid, and want every kid to have that wonderful experience! I'm so impressed with all they do, and know my donation will be used to "spark joy" for thousands of families. Thanks Tandem!
Ive been volunteering with Tandem for a number of months and I love it. Tandem is committed to improving local early childhood education and is super effective at it. I’ve been super impressed with their programs! From my experience with other nonprofits, tandem is amazing!
I have been volunteering with Tandem for a couple years now and only started donating this past year. I recently volunteered at their office in the Bayview in August 2018 and had a great time! Their staff were well-organized and had plenty of work for me to help out with. I got to make some StoryBlocks to give away to families as well as did some decorating and admin work in the office (we finalized and hung up some artwork and organized some children's books). It was easy to coordinate a time with Julie and they were accommodating of my schedule. I highly encourage other folks looking to make an impact in the SF Bay Area to get in touch with them and get involved. Keep up the great work Tandem!
My name is Kathie Autumn and I have managed the Treasure Island Child Development Center since 2011. It is with great pleasure that I support Tandem, Partners in Early Learning’s application for the Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation.
With over 40 years of experience working with children and being deeply embedded in the early childhood education landscape, I can tell you Tandem is easily one of our favorite partners. We serve low income children who often do not have access to books or opportunities to take trips into the city to attend the library due to working parents. Tandem makes my job easier by bringing the books, and even training, directly to our school site. Their staff provides fantastic Read Aloud demonstrations in each of the classrooms at our site where our teachers pick up great tips for engaging children in story time and build a love for books early! Most importantly, the children love the visits and storytelling from Tandem staff and get especially excited about the book bags filled with new titles weekly that they take home and share with their families. Parents love these also, and even share favorite book titles with teachers. This is an invaluable service for the children and families we serve, and the people who work at Tandem are the ones who make it all happen!
On top of it all, this past holiday season, Tandem partnered with Chronicle Books, a local book store, to donate and help purchase a brand new, high quality, age-appropriate book to each of our students. They gave the books away at our Holiday Pancake party (with help from Santa Claus) where they also provided an interactive Read Aloud demonstration (pictured right).
As part of our Impact Report, we have shown a 38% increase in Language and Literacy Development assessments with our children. Adding Tandem to our program has aided in this increase showing positive outcomes for children in this area.
I am deeply grateful for Tandem’s support of my work to educate young children and help them enjoy reading and learning. I couldn’t think of any organization more deserving of the Innovations in Reading award! Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have additional questions.
Kathie Q. Autumn; Program Director
Catholic Charities Treasure Island Child Development Center
850 Avenue D San Francisco CA 94130
The Museum of Children's Arts (MOCHA) has had the honor to collaborate with Tandem, Partners in Early Learning through our Library Education and Arts Program. Their ability to involve parents and children in the world of literacy and early learning through storytelling is a vital component to the development of young minds. Our mission to a hands on approach to learning aligns with their commitment to engage parents and children in the process of developing children that can be communicators, critical thinkers and agents of change.
The Tandem Bookbag program provides exciting and age appropriate books for the parents of my students to make reading at home a positive experience. The books are free for the parents to use, therefore they will be more likely to read to their child on a consistent basis.
I teach students with autism and an IEP (individualized education plan). Parents are involved in developing their child's educational plan. The Tandem bookbag program provides a mean of helping school districts meet state standards by partnering with parents and involving them directly in their child's education.
As a Tandem employee, I can't say how proud I am to work for an organization influencing impactful change in the community. Tandem's commitment to serving families with high-quality programs, as well as the commitment to supporting employee's professional development and goals makes this one of the best places to work and serve.
As an employee, I have to say that this is the best place I've worked. The team is a true team - collaborating to meet our mission every single day. When I'm out in the field gathering photos and video footage to create educational videos or other videos that help raise awareness for our organization, it's a joy to hear how many educators, parents - and even children! - are so motivated and excited to be part of this program. I know that we're doing great work, and I'm proud to be on a team that is so well respected in our community.
I LOVE Tandem Partners in Early Learning and so does our staff, the families we serve and most of all, the children. Children and families look forward to taking home the high-quality children's books each week. They feel so proud to carry their green book bags to and from school! Tandem exposes adults and children to a large variety of children's books that are developmentally-appropriate and reflect the lives and communities of our families. Tandem also has helpful resources and information regarding language and literacy development and how to support children with these skills. Most of all, Tandem fosters a love for reading in adults and children alike!
I work as an Education Coordinator for a non profit early childhood center, Martinez Early Childhood Center, Inc. My director first heard about a program called Raising A Reader through First Five of Contra Costa County. My director passed on the information to me and I decided to take part. After a few months, Raising a Reader was re-branded as Tandem. I love Tandem! I love the high-quality, beautiful books that reflect children's lives- the children's lives at my school and in my community. I love how happy the families are to receive these books and seeing how thrilled the adults are when they recognize one of their favorite stories. The children look forward to taking home their green bags every week and talk endlessly about the books they've read. It's a wonderful program. Last year, the families completed surveys about Tandem. Every family not only raved about the program but the majority of families replied that they read more than ever to their children because of the program. The population we serve are low income, hard working families. They either work, attend school or both to qualify for our program. These families do not always have the time or resources to go to the library or buy books. Tandem makes it very convenient and the children also get experience with taking care of borrowed items and following a schedule- experiences that will help them in elementary school and beyond. But behind the wonderful books and materials are the people. We love Laura, our literacy specialist. She's such a gem. We just had a, "back-to-school-night" family meeting and Laura spoke about the Tandem program and developing literacy skills in children. She was amazing. My director wishes Laura could do all of our family meetings! Laura comes in to our program to conduct 'Read A Louds' for the children. The children look forward to this and the teachers learn a lot of tips and ideas. Have you ever heard Laura read a story? I highly recommend it :) She's not only a talented story teller but she is also bilingual. A huge plus because a large majority of our children speak Spanish. We really love the Tandem program here at M.E.C.C. I know I speak for our families as well when I say that I hope this program remains in our community for years to come! I hope in fifty years from now, when someone sees a child with a green bag, they'll know it's a Tandem bag and that child is developing a love for reading. Thank you Tandem!! And thank you, Laura!
I love making StoryBlocks with Tandem! They come to our office, and lead us through this fun activity while sharing how the toys will be used to bolster literacy in our community. My colleagues and I have fun, and know we're giving back to kids. Tandem - Keep up the great work!
Speaking as a board member, here is what I value most about Tandem as an organization and what inspires me to continue my involvement:
-The Executive Director is not only visible and vocal as a representative of Tandem but is a real public champion for Tandem and their work.
-As a board member, we are very clear about our responsibilities and we all take them seriously.
-The board is a diverse group of people that I truly believe is a reflection of the various communities that Tandem serves. And I believe that Tandem has worked to create a board with intention taking into consideration the skills and experience of their members and how they can support the needs of Tandem as an organization.
I have only been impressed with Tandem. Their read alouds to students are incredibly animated, engaging, and just the spark students need to love learning. Attending their teacher, parent, and community trainings are also highly interactive. They strike a perfect balance of being easy to understand while also being sophisticated and backed by research. Program staff are clearly experts at their craft and highly intentional about what they do. I look forward to seeing Tandem grow and thrive in supporting families throughout the Bay Area.
Volunteering at this incredible organization is always a joy ! The staff is so dedicated and enthusiastic about their mission and they carry out their objectives with deep convictions and never waining hard work. To work with this team inspires additional commitment to help in other areas of early childhood literacy. Tandem is a highly valued contributing member of the community and their good work has a ripple effect toward giving children a love of books and a head start into early literacy.
I'm so happy to support such a fantastic organization, who work so hard to give books and the love of learning to families!
I attended a Tandem workshop and saw firsthand how Tandem partners with educators to enhance their skills so kids understand, retain, participate, and have more fun when reading. I had some great take-aways, not intuitive by the way, that changed the way I read to my 2-year old. I feel they are an invaluable community resource we should all be thankful for.