A letter from Tim

Thank you for visiting our website!

I worked for several years as an English teacher in Philadelphia's inner-city and teaching has always been a passion of mine. I love being in front of a crowd, sharing a story and making people happy. I moved to Philadelphia for my first teaching job in 2010 and immediately fell in love with the city and its' imperfections. While it is the birthplace of equality and democracy, it is also home to immense struggle. Philadelphia has the highest number of poverty and deep poverty in America.

Over 160,000 residents, including 60,000 children, live in deep poverty - meaning they live at least 50% below the poverty line. That is more than 11% of the city's population! I thought by teaching in those neighborhoods, I could make a difference. While I may not have been the best at imparting rules of grammar, my most successful moments came when telling my students a story meant to entertain and motivate them. Every year, I would share with my students an inspiring speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. titled "What Is Your Life's Blueprint?" The speech encouraged some of my students to give up their lunch and recess every day in order to go down to the first grade and read with the younger students.

A few years ago, I took a summer job as a tour guide and I would share that story with tourists. Every now and then, guests would encourage me to start a similar program in the city and some even offered up their services to get it started. It led to Teach 2 the Core, where I get students who are the first people in their family to go to college to serve as mentors to the high school students in my program. In addition to their mentors, I ask the high schoolers to give four hours a week of free literacy tutoring for community service. Among their projects, they must find a first grader in their neighborhood and read to them at least an hour a week. Our mission was picked up by NPR and you can read a feature story about Teach 2 The Core below!

So, what does any of this have to do with Founding Footsteps and giving tours in Philadelphia? Well, I needed to do two things: 1. Find a way to pay my bills and 2. Raise funds to support my program. I decided to take my passion for entertaining and storytelling and use them to generate income. With every school tour that I book, 20% of my net profit will be donated to Wes Gold Fellows, an amazing nonprofit organization that sponsors my literacy program. For me, it's the best of both worlds! I get to do what I love and give back to my city while making sure tourists leave Philadelphia having had a good time. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and please check out Teach 2 The Core's website down below!


Tim McAleer

Book Now