TOLA Alums in Action

TOLA Alums in Action

Interview with Giuliana Martinez After graduating from The Organizing and Leadership Academy in 2014, Giuliana was hired as program coordinator for ‘Healthy Hearts SF’ in the San Francisco Department of Public Health. As part of the TOLA 6 class, Giuliana worked on the successful Berkeley vs Big Soda campaign, the...
Organizing is the Art of Discipline

Organizing is the Art of Discipline

By Mercedes Del Carmen Carreto Vasquez Organizing is an art and discipline is the tool that will help you create a masterpiece. Creativity seems to come from scattered thoughts, and as long as I remember, I have been creative. Learning to balance a sense of creativity with the need for...
Self-Discovery in a Complex City

Self-Discovery in a Complex City

By Bobby Rodriguez Donoso One aspect of the TOLA program that I appreciate most is that fellows are not selected based solely on their experience in community organizing. Candidates are also evaluated on their personal attributes and qualities that can potentially make them an effective community organizer. Some of my...
Turning Conversations Into Opportunities

Turning Conversations Into Opportunities

By Jesus Alonso From my very first day in TOLA, I realized that to be a great organizer I must turn every conversation into an opportunity. In order to do this, I knew I would have to take more risks, learn to be a better listener, think outside the box,...
Fighting for What Matters ... People

Fighting for What Matters … People

By Mary Janet Ramos This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the 50th Anniversary of the Delano Grape Boycott, a non-violent nationwide movement that not only unified Filipino and Latino farm workers, but also brought together other ethnic groups who fought for justice, dignity, and respect. Under the...
Beyond Labels: A Young Organizer's Journey

Beyond Labels: A Young Organizer’s Journey

By Gabriela Andrade When I first heard about TOLA, I knew I had to apply. I was hungry for a program that could teach me the how, the why, and the who of organizing. Before TOLA, my experience as an organizer consisted of shadowing other organizers without fully understanding what...
A Game Changing Community

A Game Changing Community

By Deyanira Nava After three short weeks, I have found that TOLA keeps pushing us to step outside our comfort zones. With only one week of curriculum and canvassing work under our belts, we headed to Watsonville, California, to raise awareness of the health consequences of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages.  ...
A Little Push Goes A Long Way

A Little Push Goes A Long Way

By Gabriela Mares TOLA, The Organizing and Leadership Academy, has been such an amazing and challenging experience for me. To say that the first four weeks have been intense would be an understatement! In the span of only four weeks, I have been pushed beyond my limits. So far the...
Welcome TOLA 7 Fellows!

Welcome TOLA 7 Fellows!

Dear Friends, Many thanks to those of you who referred so many qualified candidates to TOLA this year. We hope you will continue sending more applicants for future classes. Please join us in welcoming the TOLA 7 Fellows, who will begin their 16-week training and fellowship on July 20th. Jesus...
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Watch these videos about TOLA!

Watch these videos about TOLA!

Learn more about TOLA from founder Larry Tramutola, TOLA director Christian Garcia, and TOLA graduate/executive board member, Lolís Ramirez. Aprende más sobre TOLA del director Christian Garcia y TOLA graduada y miembra de la mesa ejecutiva Lolís Ramirez.
Who do you know?

Who do you know?

Dear Friends, I hope that you are having a great start to the New Year. TOLA continues to grow and flourish, training the next generation of grassroots organizers and leaders. Thirty-nine individuals have graduated from TOLA. Many are working in the organizing, education, government affairs, and non-profit sectors. As we embark on a new year, we...
Speaking Up is Key

Speaking Up is Key

By Giuliana Martinez Although TOLA has pushed me out of my comfort zone both professionally and personally, I never imagined how much I could change in a matter of four months. Before TOLA, I was working for a non-profit as a case manager helping lower income families in Marin County. I enjoyed the work, but...
Leaps of Faith

Leaps of Faith

By Ali Archer What’s it like becoming a community organizer? An incredible struggle. And I mean struggle in the most optimistic sense, because that’s where as TOLA fellows we have grown the most. That’s where the learning is – where we’ve come to understand ourselves and the magnitude of our potential. When looking back on...
Fighting Big Soda

Fighting Big Soda

By Lisa Alvarado The Berkeley vs Big Soda tax measure is more far reaching than simply taking a stand against sugary beverages.  If Measure D passes, it has the potential to affect families like mine in monumental ways. My parents struggled with their weight throughout my childhood. My mother drank about 4 sodas a day — with...
Making a Difference

Making a Difference

By Michael Guadamuz Early in the TOLA fellowship, I learned that a potential project we may be working on would be an independent expenditure campaign in San Francisco. Having had some experience with political campaigns, I was pretty confident in what to expect. What I wasn’t expecting was becoming an integral part of the formation...
Power of Listening

Power of Listening

By Joyce Ganthavorn There’s a Fred Ross Sr. axiom that says, “When you are tempted to make a statement, ask a question.” In TOLA we have been learning about the value of listening. Although I think all of The Organizing and Leadership Academy Fellows are great listeners, the program is challenging us to take our...
Reflections on La Paz 2014

Reflections on La Paz 2014

By Stephanie Hernández It‘s not every day you have the opportunity to meet living legends. On our trip to La Paz, we had the opportunity to meet United Farm Workers (UFW) leaders Gilbert Padilla, Arturo Rodriguez, and Dolores Huerta. TOLA 6 Fellows and I were thrilled to get to know these individuals on a more...
Welcome to the 2014 TOLA 6 Fellows!

Welcome to the 2014 TOLA 6 Fellows!

Please join us in welcoming the 2014 TOLA 6 Fellows: Lisa Alvarado Ali Archer Joyce Ganthavorn Michael Gudamuz Stephanie Hernandez Guiliana Martinez Follow their progress over the next four months here at our website! Sincerely, TOLA Team  
Community Celebration for Firehouse Clinic

Community Celebration for Firehouse Clinic

Dear Friends, Thank you to everyone who attended the Firehouse Clinic and Fire Station #7 groundbreaking ceremony, especially the organizations that participated in helping make this event a complete success for the Hayward community. A first of its kind in the county and state, the Firehouse Clinic and Fire Station will provide a place for...
Invitation to Groundbreaking

Invitation to Groundbreaking

Dear Friends, On Saturday June 14th, the South Hayward community will be celebrating the groundbreaking of the Firehouse Clinic and Hayward Fire Station #7. This is a unique collaboration between Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, the Hayward Fire Department, and Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center. The Firehouse Clinic is a full service primary and preventative...
TOLA Application Update!

TOLA Application Update!

Dear Friends, The deadline to apply has been changed to Wednesday July 9, 2014 at 5 pm. The training academy begins on Monday, July 21, 2014. Please click on the Apply tab above for more information about the application process. Thanks, TOLA Team

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