About our Mission

Our mission is two-fold.

First, we work with local community leaders to build schools where they are desperately needed. Learning is every child’s right. The research is not ambiguous. When children go to school, they have a greater chance to live more productive and purposeful lives.

Second, we facilitate travel opportunities for paying volunteers. These volunteers come to our schools to contribute their time and talent. They come to bear witness to the hardships and struggles of children worldwide. They come to connect, and to discover that making a difference is not always what you think.

Our mission is tactile, tangible and spiritual.

Our Story

Crossing Thresholds founder, Carter Via, was introduced to the Kibera Slum (Nairobi, Kenya) in 2007. As the second largest slum in the world and home to nearly 1.5 million Kenyans, it compelled him to respond. With hundreds of thousands of children out of school and malnourished, the need for schools and feeding programs was abundantly clear.

Thus in December 2008, Crossing Thresholds was incorporated as a 501c3 AND began its mission to build schools and holistic learning environments for underserved children. Our method was simple and straightforward – identify and enlist local grassroots leaders with a vision for educating children in the slum, employ local Kenyans to build and teach in our schools, and organize service-learning trips to bring volunteers into these projects.

Since 2008, Crossing Thresholds celebrates the following accomplishments:

  • The construction and opening of 2 primary schools
  • The partial construction and opening of a 3rd primary school
  • The partial construction and opening of a high school (100 miles north of Nairobi)
  • Approximately 1000 children being fed and educated at our primary schools
  • An inaugural 9th Grade Class of 42 students at the high school
  • Full scholarships for 5 university students from Kibera

Our Partners

Drug Fighters School

Crossing Thresholds launched its first collaborative school-building initiative with grassroots leader, Agnes Musau. Agnes and CT worked tirelessly together for five years to transform an empty dirt lot into a school campus with ten classrooms, office space, a kitchen, dining hall, dormitory, and counseling center. Drug Fighters Primary School and Feeding Center now serves over 300 children in grades one to eight and, simultaneously, offers residential care to nearly 30 orphaned students.

Facing The Future School

In January 2011, CT established a partnership with Simeon Ajigo. Simeon’s vision was to create a safe environment in Kibera for the children of single mothers. With the added support of daycare, these women would have the freedom to pursue work outside the home. Simeon’s vision quickly grew to include a preschool, primary school, health clinic, and community outreach program for at-risk teenagers in the slum. Facing the Future School (FAFU) serves over 300 children and provides each student with two meals per day. To further enrich the learning environment, CT helped launch a dynamic music program, a variety of sports programs, and much needed medical and therapeutic services.

Mobjap School

Our most recent school-building project began in January 2016 with community leader, Asanya Bernard. Prior to this date, Asanya was feeding and educating more than 250 kids in unimaginable conditions. But his will and determination were unflappable. Following the purchase of a piece of land in 2015, CT initiated construction on the first building of the Mobjap (Garden of Hope) Primary School. In 2017, the second building was completed with additional classrooms and space for a dining/assembly hall. With the acquisition of one more piece of land, we hope to finish construction in 2018.

Crossing Thresholds High School

From the outset of our work in the Kibera Slum, we were concerned about our students upon graduation from the 8th grade. Less than 10% of those graduates have the opportunity to attend high school. These statistics ruin lives, and contribute to an array of social and economic problems.


To counter these realities, we began working with local community leader, Lawrence Kabuthi, in 2013. Lawrence approached Thresholds with a proposal to build a high school for orphans in a community 100 miles north of Nairobi. More than willing to negotiate, we collaboratively agreed to create a boarding school with space for local orphans AND rising 9th graders from Kibera. In February 2016, the high school opened its doors with an inaugural Freshman Class of 42 students. In January 2017, we welcomed a second Freshman Class.


This year, we have introduced a garden project, a music program, and most recently completed construction of a new Science Lab.

Our Staff

  • Carter Via

    Executive Director

  • Aly Luiso

    Director of Programs

  • James(Jimmy) Kamau

    Project Manager

  • Magdalene Bariki

    Logistics Manager

Our Board

  • Chris Shaida

    Long Island City, NY

  • Kate Cummiskey

    Norwalk, CT

  • Warren Licht

    New York, NY

  • Katie Lethbridge

    Yonkers, NY

  • Amanda DuBois

    Bronxville, NY

  • David Squier

    New Canaan, CT

  • Elizabeth Beinfield

    Rowayton, CT

  • Mary Mackintosh

    Bronxville, NY

  • Joseph French

    Bronxville, NY

  • Timothy Kenefick

    New Canaan, CT

  • Marina O'Malley

    Ridgefield, CT

  • Faith Pedowitz

    Bedford, NY