Letter: Please support Tools for Change


To the Editor,
As we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just a few short weeks ago, I am reminded that he once remarked that “all men are caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality.”

It is not often that, in our separate, but inescapably linked communities, there is a program that has been bringing together high school students from three local high schools—Blind Brook, Port Chester and Rye Neck—for the past five years and now would like to include students from Rye City High School. That program is Tools For Change.

The League of Women Voters of Rye, Rye Brook and Port Chester has been a program sponsor from its beginning and I am writing this letter as a member of the league’s Board of Directors.

The program focuses teenagers from diverse backgrounds to conduct research, analyze and solve community problems. Dr. William Tobin from Duke University teaches the seminar. As Dr. Tobin has written, “Tools grows young people who not only possess disciplined analytical and interpretive skills, as well as empathy and wisdom, but can bring these traits to bear on local challenges that have national and global dimensions. The focus of Tools is not to transmit knowledge, but instead to teach a style for engaging the world so that new and existing knowledge and data can be productively organized, analyzed and used.”

The program is multi-faceted and has been bringing together students and teachers, parents and school board members from Port Chester, Rye Neck and Blind Brook. Dr. Tobin is anxious to have students from Rye City join the seminar that is beginning this month. Interested students, parents and/or community members can contact him at tobin@soc.duke.edu.

Funding for the program is through a public-private partnership. Public donors have included the Town of Rye, Building Community Bridges/One World and, this year, the County of Westchester.

Funding is always difficult and the public’s help is encouraged and needed if this worthwhile program is to continue. An online fundraising campaign through the crowd sourcing website: IncitED has recently been completed and tax deductible donations have been coming in through the league or by mail to P.O. Box 194, Rye, NY 10580.

Volunteers are also needed, as chaperones and in other capacities. This worthwhile program is a “two-way street,” benefiting not only the students but the adults who are so much a part of it. Those who wish to give of their time may also contact the league through the website or by mail.

Gary Zuckerman,
Rye Brook