Dear Starts With One (SWO) Volunteer Community Tutors (VCTs):
In 2019, Jeff, Kulsuma, Omar and I sat down at a coffee shop near the University of Toronto (UofT) to design a grassroots non-profit organization focused on education equity. The four of us come from a variety of socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, however, one thing united us: A commitment to raising awareness for the disparities in educational opportunities which arise between individual students due to wealth inequality, and to address these disparities in novel, progressive ways. In this way, SWO was born.
Since 2019, SWO has executed a series of initiatives to address education equity. In 2020, moving our operations online allowed us to reach dozens more newcomer, lower-income families in need of ESL and other tutoring services. Furthermore, the progress made by Black Lives Matter groups in the United States bolstered our efforts helping friends and colleagues who were advocating against anti-Black racism in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We began to structure our organization along two axes: One, focused on research, advocacy and activism work, and the second on developing community-led programs to address education inequality on the ground.
Today, SWO is a grassroots-funded and operated, student-led movement to improve education equity across socioeconomic, racial and ethnic categories in Canada. Our e-learning program is the heart of our organization, and currently serves 71 students from 41 families across the GTA, thanks to the 60+ volunteer tutors who have committed to helping their students. We pride ourselves in having a horizontal leadership structure, and so, if you have any feedback or desire to lead initiatives of your own, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Director(s) at any time. We are tremendously grateful that you’ve joined us in 2023: Welcome to the team.
Project Lead, Board of Directors
Starts With One (SWO) Canada