Our Years of Service
Founded in 1993, SNN’s early efforts were designed to enhance the school’s academic and developmental impact on students by providing enrichment services. The name, School News Nationwide, was derived from founder Bill Tingling’s concept that students using the state of the art technology of the decade—computers, video cameras, printers, etc.—to self-publish newspapers and produce videos related to their life experience would propel their scholastic performance.
In 1995 Bill procured the permission and technology to pilot his program in one school, challenging a class of students to own their journalistic work from concept through distribution. So successful was the model – helping students develop interdisciplinary skills including critical thinking and literacy – that by 2001 SNN was serving more than 3000 students in 15 underperforming schools throughout NYC.
In the early 2000s, SNN began expanding into after school sites and created daylong programs to serve summer camps. In addition to the journalistic centerpiece, all programming featured workshops, trips, guest lectures, and other learning experiences designed to raise the awareness of youth – most with a limited perspective beyond their neighborhood – of their potential and possibilities.
A foundation of this program was teaching principles of positive attitude and ethical behavior. The principles were recited before every class started, and illustrated with basic structures of expression, such as etiquette, dress, speech, eye contact, and handshaking. By teaching the fundamentals, Bill and his staff made a significant impact on thousands of youth – which for many, was transformative. A former student, now president of a construction company, states, “Bill Tingling represented the father figure I was lacking. He was a role model, someone whose trust, reason, and firm leadership provided me with careful constructive guidance.”
In 2005, inspired by his mentor Dr. A.R. Bernard, the CEO and Senior Pastor of the Christian Cultural Center and one of the country’s most respected educators, Bill initiated a new project, Words of Bonds. Created to promote understanding and goodwill between African-American and Jewish youth by teaching the similarities of their historical experience, Words of Bonds brought Holocaust survivors and African-American elders into schools and other public venues where they were interviewed and videotaped by students. The focus of the presentations was not the horrors of the Holocaust or slavery, but the need for understanding and tolerance so such inhumanity would never be repeated. Words of Bonds resonated with youth and adults of all backgrounds.
The Tour for Tolerance, which brings tolerance education directly to schools and other youth-serving venues, is the next phase of SNN’s evolution. Tolerance education will empower millions of students to create a peaceful future.