TOLA Alumni
More Than Statistics

More Than Statistics

By Sharon Merino What does it entail to give oneself to the cause? It means long hours, stress, frustration, and little sleep, but most of all hope — hope that all the hard work will pay off; hope that you will meet your goals; and hope that the work will truly impact everyone you spoke...
Organizing is a Lifestyle

Organizing is a Lifestyle

By Harold Dela Cruz You’ve probably all thought about doing something in your lifetime that will change the world. But what does it take to create lasting change in a community? And what are some of the challenges? Participating in the Organizing and Leadership Academy (TOLA) has shown me that positive change is incredibly difficult...
Conquering Fear - An Organizer's Story

Conquering Fear – An Organizer’s Story

By Grace Luk On my first day of TOLA, I was faced with one of the most nerve-racking tasks: canvassing and approaching strangers. Clipboard in hand, I became one of those people I often ignore on sidewalks persuading others to sign a petition, or support a cause. My job was to educate the community about...
Rearranging Meaning

Rearranging Meaning

By Kyle Peerless I am so grateful for the TOLA program. The curriculum and guest speakers we are exposed to in conjunction with our campaign work allow us to develop skills to become effective at connecting with people in a way that provides perspective and inspiration, and the impetus to take action against injustice. In...
Watch NEW Berkeley vs Big Soda Film!

Watch NEW Berkeley vs Big Soda Film!

In November 2014, Berkeley became the first US city to pass a measure taxing distributors of soda and other sugary drinks. One year later, Berkeley’s soda tax has generated over $1.5 million for community nutrition and health efforts! Concerned about skyrocketing type 2 diabetes rates among children, many communities throughout the United States and the...
"Never stop learning. Never stop laughing."

“Never stop learning. Never stop laughing.”

Interview of Angela Kline, TOLA 2 Angela Kline, is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. While in graduate school, Angela researched innovative payment system reforms to ensure that Americans receive value in healthcare dollars. Additionally, Angela was Public Policy Fellow at United Way of the Bay Area, where she analyzed inventive...
TOLA Alums Improving Access to Healthcare

TOLA Alums Improving Access to Healthcare

Interview of Deyanira Nava, TOLA 7 Dey is a recent graduate of the TOLA program and UC Davis. Before TOLA, she interned at Latino Coalition for a Healthy California where she worked to advance the shared vision to increase healthcare access for all Californians and also ensure that the social and economic environments within communities support...
Part II - TOLA Alums on Presidential Campaign Trail

Part II – TOLA Alums on Presidential Campaign Trail

Interview of Mary Janet Ramos, TOLA 7 Q: Tell us about your involvement with the Hillary Clinton campaign in Nevada?  A: As a field organizer, I was responsible for daily voter contact outreach including attending community events, doing door to door work, and organizing daily phone banks. Every day I had conversations with people in...
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 first successful effort to tax...
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.   In my previous work with...
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 Fellows have been assigned to...
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...

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