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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Tandem, Partners in Early Learning

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Child Day Care, Children & Youth, Education, Literacy, Preschools, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: Tandem partners with families, educators, and communities to surround young children with interactive learning experiences that spark joy and close the opportunity gap. Tandem has been providing services to Bay Area children, families, and educators for over 12 years. Tandem’s programming is rooted in the belief that high-quality early learning and strong family bonds can break the cycle of poverty and build brighter futures for children. Both strategies are effective on their own, but when approached together and with strong partnerships in the community, the results can be greater and more lasting. To that end, Tandem works in two program areas: Community Capacity-Building and Family Engagement. Tandem additionally offers a fee for service model where we provide trainings and technical assistance to service organizations, non-profits, and school districts that are interested in implementing and promoting early learning interventions.

Results: Tandem has served 100,000 children ages 0-6 and their families in three Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Alameda, and Contra Costa) since 2003. Tandem’s programs focus on serving families whose children at greatest risk of falling behind: children living in poverty, English language learners, children of color, and children not enrolled in formal care settings or preschool.

Target demographics: children & families, early childhood educators, family support professionals, community members

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 15,000 children and their families

Geographic areas served: San Francisco, Alameda & Contra Costa Counties

Programs: educator workshops and support, parent training, and family literacy events, consulting for organizations seeking to embed family engagement strategies within their work, and family support professionals.

Community Stories

47 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

24 of us from our office volunteered with Tandem to build StoryBlocks. They were great to work with and even agreed to meet us at SoMa StrEat Food Park so we didn't have to travel after lunch and could do the activity outside. The activity was very easy to do and Lucas did a great job of explaining the impact we were making. Definitely recommend them for a group volunteer activity!

Sara R.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Tandem is a non-profit the so at operates with complete integrity and works hard serve families and communities where it's needed most. When they see a need, they go work to serve it. I have never known another organization to be so honest in their representation about the work that they do.

Jillian C.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work for Martinez Early Childhood Center, a non-profit, state-funded school that serves families in the community so that they can work and/or attend school while their child is cared for in a safe environment. Tandem has been a gift to our families for the last two years. Families receive developmentally-appropriate children's books each week that they can take home and share with their children. Every week, the children proudly take home their book bags excited to see what new stories are waiting for them. I love Tandem's StoryCycles program. Children's books can be expensive and not every family has the luxury of time to go to the library. Tandem provides the convenience of a school-to-home borrowing system which in turn supports literacy development in our young children. We know how important it is for young children to be read to and have meaningful connections with their caregivers- StoryCycles is like a tool families can use to provide this for their children. The Tandem organization also hires the most amazing people! I think you have to have special DNA to work for them because everyone involved with Tandem is fabulously talented and has a huge heart. Our children love when out literacy specialist, Laura comes to read to the children and our families love the information she shares with them about brain and literacy development. Tandem adds something magical to our school that cannot be matched. Thank you Tandem, Partners in Early Learning!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My school loves partnering with Tandem! Our families love the StoryCycles program which has really enriched our school. Tandem offers wonderful family and teacher workshops as well. Thank you, Tandem for all that you do!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is a well run charity with highly professional and dedicated staff. They find solutions to the problem and are well respected by their partners and customers of other nonprofits, teachers, and parents.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Tandem is a wonderful organization that is committed to supporting families and caregivers to take on the very important role of being their children’s first teachers. They offer high quality training and other supportive services that benefit the entire community, including school-to-home book-sharing opportunities, workshops for families and educators on early learning, and leadership development training for parent leaders interested in promoting early literacy in their neighborhoods. Tandem’s staff members are experts in their fields of early language and literacy development, and they have a large group of school and community-based partners that rely on and respect the support they receive from Tandem. I am honored to work with and support Tandem!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the greatest experience volunteering at Tandem’s SF headquarters for their annual StoryCycles program book sort. Tandem’s dedicated staff and Board worked along side the volunteers to share their knowledge, passion and enthusiasm for their early literacy program. High quality, beautifully illustrated hardcover and paperback children’s books were stacked high on tables throughout the room. The books where sorted by reading level and available in multiple languages. There were book bags, support materials for the family and resources for educators ready to be distributed. I can’t say enough good things about what I saw, what I learned and what I experienced during my day with the hardworking Tandem team. Tandem is doing great things!

1 Martina A.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Tandem, Partners in Early Learning is a member of the San Francisco Family Support Network (SFFSN). Their engagement and commitment to providing quality services to San Francisco families is evident in their dedication to their work, and their committment to train staff to strengthen families and support early literacy development in young children. Tandem participates in many community events including Dia de Los Niños, and they were winners of the SFFSN Banner Contest during the Cesar Chavez Parade and Festival. Tandem engages and works closely with families. I highly recommend our respected SFFSN member, Tandem, Partners in Early Learning!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I reached out for support promoting early literacy at my current job. Thankfully, Tandem immediately responded and exceeded my expectation. With great enthusiasm they are helping me train our staff and clients, as well as coming to our activities to promote the great benefits of early literacy.


1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a preschool teacher in a Dual Language Program in the San Francisco Unified School District and we have received brand new books and bags from Tandem to start our classroom rotating library. The books are beautiful, colorful, culturally relevant and come in three languages: Spanish, Chinese and English! There are also word-less books that are great to encourage young children to use their imagination and emergent communication skills in their home language and /or English. We are very pleased with the support we have received from this wonderful organization -TANDEM, working so tirelessly on behalf of children, educators and families. On behalf of our school community at Las Americas Early Education School, THANK YOU!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Tandem, Partners in Early Learning is a great organization to partner with and
I've had a great experience working with their staff. We work together to promote early literacy in the Mission District of San Francisco and we rely on their expertise for building the capacity of families and educators throughout our community.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an Assistant Coordinator at Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative, I've had the pleasure of partnering with Tandem for our Family Engagement events. Lucy and Laura are amazing women who passionately take the time to teach our families in Richmond about the importance of early education. It is always an honor to welcome Tandem into our space. Thank you for always showing love and interest in working with our parents and children. We are truly blessed to have this partnership.
Tandem rocks!

1 Emily154

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I'm the Program Coordinator at Southeast Families United FRC (Edgewood Center for Children and Families) in Bayview, SF and my collaboration with Tandem was fantastic. They are a team that looks more like a family than a traditional company, and you can see that they really care about the community they serve. My experience when I went to visit their office was so welcoming; I was treated like the dear uncle they haven't seen in years. In my opinion, Tandem is a great asset to the training-education for our children, parents and other service providers.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work as a Program Director for a small, nonprofit Child Development Center on Treasure Island and can easily tell you that Tandem is one of our favorite partners. We serve low income children who do not have access to books often or trips into the city to attend the library due to working parents. Tandem has partnered us with a wonderful rep named Kelsey, who visits often doing read-alouds in all the classrooms. The children love her visits and storytelling, but most especially are 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. Teachers learn new ways to engage children in stories and books as well. We all love when Kelsey visits! This is an invaluable service for children and the people who work at Tandem are the ones who make it fantastic!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Tandem is an incredible organization. They are always asking how they can do more to help more children and families. At the same time they are careful to always grow in a sustainable and smart way, without compromising quality. Their staff is dedicated and vibrant, and they are truly leaders in the field of Early Literacy and Family Engagement.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

The enthusiasm, knowledge, and pride surrounding this organization are contagious. I started with Raising a Reader as a volunteer, helping to brainstorm around their infant/toddler programs, and two years later I am a proud member of the Board of Directors. This is an organization that never rests with "good enough" but is always finding ways to be more effective, help more families, and delve even deeper. The staff is dedicated and passionate, and truly believe in the work they do.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

With their deep expertise and skillful collaboration, Tandem made our parent engagement around early literacy highly effective. I'm so grateful that the Bay Area has a partner in them.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am honored and privileged to be a member of the Board of Tandem, Partners in Early Learning, a leader in early childhood literacy. Tandem's dedicated and enthusiastic staff and volunteers work tirelessly to spark the joy and close the opportunity gap through Tandem's book sharing program, parent and educator workshops, and community literacy events. Tandem is known for its innovative and collaborative approaches to improving childhood literacy and works closely with parents and educators to empower them to spark the joy of reading and learning in young children.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Early childhood literacy is the highest impact investment we can make in children's futures. However, to be truly transformative, book-sharing/reading programs must be coupled with literacy development. Tandem is leading the way by providing a suite of wraparound services to support parents and educators in developing early literacy, which is the number 1 predictor of future success in school and in life. The tandem team is tireless and deliberate in adapting to the needs of its communities and families and is a pioneer in the future of early childhood development.