Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy

A TOUCH OF UNDERSTANDING INC

Building Empathy, Igniting Respect

aka ATOU

Granite Bay, CA

Mission

A Touch of Understanding's mission is to encourage acceptance and respect for all individuals. Our educational programs are designed to increase understanding of differences and promote full inclusion, thereby minimizing discrimination, bullying and social isolation suffered by children and adults who are perceived as different for any reason, but especially those with disabilities.

Our workshops are provided in 8 counties throughout the Greater Sacrament area: Placer, Sacramento, Nevada, El Dorado, Calaveras, Marin, Solano, and Yolo.

Ruling Year

1996

Executive Director

Mrs. Leslie DeDora

Main Address

5280 Stirling Street Suite 102

Granite Bay, CA 95746 USA

Keywords

Youth development, disability awareness, education, character development, diversity, understanding, violence prevention, emotional IQ, bullying prevention

EIN

68-0389777

 Number

2736610994

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Disabled Persons' Rights (R23)

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Secondary/High School (B25)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015.
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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

Bullying, teasing and disrespect in schools are problems throughout our nation. These behaviors create barriers to learning and cause emotional trauma for children who are singled out because of disability, race, culture, etc. Ignorance and misunderstanding are the root of this mistreatment and isolation. Studies show children with disabilities experience a disproportionate level of maltreatment: "Children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be victims of bullying than their nondisabled peers. The bullying experienced by these children was more chronic in nature and was most often directly related to their disabilities." (Wheaton, Zuver, 2009) Research shows a positive school climate, where students feel emotionally and physically safe, is associated with higher attendance rates, fewer discipline violations, and better academic performance. "The climate should be characterized by warmth, tolerance, positive responses to diversity, sensitivity to others' views, coop

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Youth F.O.R.C.E. ("Friends Offering Respect ~ Creating Empowerment"

ATOU Volunteer Program

Spirit of Inclusion, Training for Adult groups

Where we workNew!

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Percentage of students that said they will be more comfortable around someone with a disability

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Context notes

Total is a percentage for each Fiscal Year: 2017 (7/1/17-6/30/18), 2016 (7/1/16-6/30/17), 2015 (7/1/15-6/30/16)

Percentage of students that said it would be easier to make friends with someone with a disability

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Context notes

Total is a percentage for each Fiscal Year: 2017 (7/1/17-6/30/18), 2016 (7/1/16-6/30/17), 2015 (7/1/15-6/30/16)

Percentage of teachers that say the ATOU workshop was a valuable educational experience for students

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Context notes

Total is a percentage for Fiscal Year: 2017 (7/1/2017-6/30/2018), 2016 (7/1/2016-6/30/2017), 2015 (7/1/2015-6/30/2016)

Percentage of teachers that state students are more accepting and respectful of peers after the ATOU workshop

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Context notes

Total is a percentage for each Fiscal Year: 2017 (7/1/17-6/30/18), 2016 (7/1/16-6/30/17), 2015 (7/1/15-6/30/16)

Percentage of teachers that say the ATOU workshop increased their students' sensitivity and awareness of children with disabilities

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Context notes

Total is a percentage for each Fiscal Year: 2017 (7/1/17-6/30/18), 2016 (7/1/16-6/30/17), 2015 (7/1/15-6/30/16)

Percentage of teachers that reported an increase in sensitivity to other forms of diversity

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Context notes

Total is a percentage for each Fiscal Year: 2017 (7/1/17-6/30/18)

Percentage of teachers that reported the long-term impact is one reason they schedule the workshop for the class each year

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Context notes

Total is a percentage for each Fiscal Year: 2017 (7/1/17-6/30/18)

Percentage of parents that think ATOU will be helpful in encouraging their child to accept and include individuals with disabilities in their life

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Context notes

Total is a percentage for each Fiscal Year: 2017 (7/1/17-6/30/18), 2016 (7/1/16-6/30/17), 2015 (7/1/15-6/30/16)

Percentage of schools that had only one grade participate during the 2016-2017 school year participated again in 2017-2018

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Children/Youth Disability Awareness Program

Context notes

Total is a percentage for each Fiscal Year: 2017 (7/1/17-6/30/18). 92% of schools rescheduled, of the 8% that did not reschedule, 5% was do to lack of funding and 3% was for other reasons.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

The major goals of ATOU are:
• To educate children and adults to appreciate, rather than fear, differences in others.
• To raise the level of understanding and respect in school environments and beyond.
• To improve the learning environment and help all children reach their potential and goals.
• To have our school students, who will soon be adults, internalize this knowledge and understanding to enhance their future relationships, careers and personal experiences.
• To improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.
• To provide a safe place, a feeling of belonging and a sense of purpose for our volunteers and our Youth F.O.R.C.E. members.
• To fully include people with disabilities in community life.

Six interwoven programs comprise our character-building disability-awareness efforts to encourage acceptance and respect for all individuals, especially those with disabilities.
IN-SCHOOL DISABILITY-AWARENESS WORKSHOP: A powerful 3-hour workshop providing hands-on opportunities for students to get a glimpse into the lives of individuals with disabilities. The workshop, which includes activities and opportunities for students to interact with volunteers who have disabilities, builds empathy and ignites respect on school campuses and beyond. ATOU is helping to create respectful school cultures where the mistreatment of others is not accepted or tolerated by the students themselves.
ATOU YOUTH F.O.R.C.E. (“Friends Offering Respect ~ Creating Empowerment"): The F.O.R.C.E. increases the wellness, self-respect and self-direction of persons with disabilities by:
• Bringing youth of all abilities together to share in fun, educational and character-building activities.
• Fostering bonds of friendship between youth of all levels of ability.
• Providing leadership training and mentoring by using youth/adult partnerships implement its activities.
• Modeling and encouraging inclusion of persons with disabilities.
This fully-inclusive group provides a sense of belonging and purpose for all members.
YOUTH F.O.R.C.E. HIGH SCHOOL CLUBS:
Members of our Youth F.O.R.C.E. established clubs on high school campuses to bring disability-awareness education to the student body and support and befriend their classmates who have disabilities.
SPIRIT OF INCLUSION: Like the in-school workshop, this hands-on training for adults provides personal experience to foster emotional accessibility and inclusion the workplace and for clients/customers. Participants acquire skills to more comfortably interact with individuals with disabilities.
The 3 – 4 hour diversity training:
• demystifies the challenges brought on by disabilities
• promotes employment of individuals with disabilities
• makes workplaces more inclusive for existing employees with disabilities
• assists schools/companies/governmental agencies to successfully address the needs of their students/clients/customers who have disabilities.
• allows our community to benefit from the abilities and commitment of our residents with disabilities.
DARK MEALS:
Participants gain understanding, appreciation and respect for individuals who are blind and for their skills, by eating a meal with their peers under blindfold, guided by an ATOU member who is blind. VOLUNTEER PROGRAM: ATOU provides an opportunity for persons with disabilities to serve the community as part of an inclusive team reducing physical and emotional isolation and providing a sense of purpose and a rich social network.

ATOU has delivered its in-school workshop to hundreds of schools and organizations in the greater Sacramento region and nearby counties over the past 23 years, reaching more than 99,000 students.
Judy Holsinger, former Executive Director Sacramento County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) stated, “A Touch of Understanding has a proven record of improving social interactions for children with disabilities in the Greater Sacramento area. Children who were otherwise isolated are now more involved in activities and social groups. A Touch of Understanding helps make full inclusion a reality in our schools."
This statement is supported by the results of a three-year evaluation project completed by ATOU in 2012, under the guidance of independent evaluation consultant, Dr. Christina Borbely. The pre- and post-workshop surveys are based on the well-established CATCH survey (Chedoke-McMaster attitudes Towards Children with Handicaps) preferred for its multi-dimensional assessment of feelings and behavioral intentions toward and beliefs about people with disabilities. The total sample included 778 matched pre/post-test pairs. More than two thirds of the students (70.1%) demonstrated overall improvement in feeling, intentions and beliefs associated with people with a disability.

Progress is tracked in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Participants complete questionnaires and participate in interviews for each of the programs.
School Workshop:
The number of participating counties, school districts, schools and students are tracked, with increases reported each year. Participating schools schedule every year and new schools sign on each year. We are currently serving approximately 10,000 students annually.
After each in-school workshop, questionnaires are given to each teacher, student and their parent. Data gathered from these surveys is analyzed to assure the workshop is meeting the needs of the students. Each year the results show the positive impact the workshop has in improving peer interactions on school campuses and helping children feel comfortable befriending someone with a disability. Christine Gardiner, a sixth-grade teacher, stated, “A Touch of Understanding sets the bar for respectful behavior in our classroom and on our school campus."
We have been providing the ATOU workshop to school students for more than 20 years. It is not uncommon for former students, who are now adults, to approach our team members and share their memories of the experience.
ATOU Youth F.O.R.C.E.: Surveys are distributed periodically. Interviews with members and their parents reveal the impact of the child/youth involvement, stating that the Youth F.O.R.C.E. provides an essential place of belonging and friendship, allowing them to thrive, without fear of rejection, isolation or mistreatment. Families stay involved throughout their children's formative years. These children often stay involved as young adults.
Spirit of Inclusion Workshop: Participants complete surveys, both from their employers and from ATOU, following the training. Each workshop has produced the highest level of satisfaction rating among the participants. “Every human being should go through this program" is a comment we frequently hear from participants.
Dark Meals: Participants say that even though it is an oxymoron, these experiences are “eye-opening." Chamber of Commerce leadership groups request the experience for each of their classes.
Volunteer Program: Surveys are provided annually to assess the value of participating in the Volunteer Program. Feedback is requested at annual volunteer trainings. Interviews with individual volunteers reveal the benefit of the program to participants. Our volunteer retention is high, spanning more than two decades for some members.

A total of 99,250 students have participated in the workshop since its inception in 1990. Currently, each year approximately 10,000 students participate in more than 100 schools in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, Solano, El Dorado, Calaveras, Marin and Nevada counties in Northern California.
The number of ATOU Youth F.O.R.C.E. participants has increased from 10 in 2009, to more than 200 in 2017. High school Youth F.O.R.C.E. members are starting ATOU Youth F.O.R.C.E. Clubs on their school campuses, eagerly taking the responsibility of bringing the message of acceptance and respect to their peers.
The Volunteer Team continues to grow. We currently have 80 volunteers, 39 of whom have disabilities.
Our evaluations show that each of these interwoven programs are increasing knowledge and understanding and promoting acceptance and respect on school campuses and in our communities.
These efforts are stimulating true full inclusion of individuals with disabilities into community life.
We continue our outreach efforts to serve all local schools and provide an ever-increasing circle of service into the full Sacramento Region. In addition, we are piloting the use of telepresence to provide the same interpersonal training experience we provide locally, to students in areas outside our geographic region. We will continue our efforts to garner sustainable funding to allow more children/youth and their families as well as volunteers with disabilities to participate in our programs.

External Reviews

External Assessments

Evaluated via the Impact Genome Project (2017)

Financials

A TOUCH OF UNDERSTANDING INC

Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Need more info on this nonprofit?

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Yes

Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Gender

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.

Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information.

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Diversity Strategies

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We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
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We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
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We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
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We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
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We have a diversity committee in place
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We have a diversity manager in place
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We have a diversity plan
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We use other methods to support diversity