Now open in San Carlos! After 14 years in San Mateo and 20 years online, Reach And Teach Books Toys and Fair Trade Gifts opened our shop at 1179 San Carlos Avenue @ Laurel Street on January 21st 2023. We have everything you loved about our shop in San Mateo with a whole lot more space! We hope you'll come check us out soon.
Reach and Teach - Books, Toys, and Fair Trade Gifts is a highly interactive and hands-on immersive environment focused on peacemaking, gender equality, and sustainable living.
The Reach and Teach story is about a "hope that does not disappoint" and heroism. The hope comes from an experience based conviction that we can substantively change our world for the better through persistent and consistent everyday and ordinary actions and modified consumer behavior along with many other people who are doing the same. The heroes in our story are our customers because they are the ones who have made a decision to act differently to affect positive change in the world. They are the ones who want to find a meaningful gift that also makes the world a better place. They are the ones willing to make lifestyle changes to reduce their use of plastic and other consumables. They want to reduce their use of toxic chemicals. They want the producers of the chocolate, coffee, teas, and toys and gifts they buy to be treated fairly and to earn a liveable wage. They don't want these producers to be exposed to dangerous working conditions and toxic chemicals. They want our planet to thrive for generations to come.They see, buy, and fly a progress pride flag. They want their friends to experience this space badly enough to bring them in. They are often better sales people than we are when new customers come in and they excitedly say "Oh, you're really going to love this place" or "You really ought to check this out".
Each of our products has a story behind it and our customers find themselves touched by each story. In this way, Reach and Teach's products will transform our customer through story even as our customer transforms the world starting but not limited to their purchases in our shop. They feel compelled to return again and again because this place consistently causes them to feel more peaceful, more hopeful about the world, and empowered to make the world an even better place. They have fun, they play, they laugh, and they smile. Many of our customers will learn and pass along the stories they have heard at Reach and Teach. In this way, Reach and Teach products carry stories of peace and positive change out into the world.
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Located in San Carlos, California, Reach And Teach is a peace and social justice learning company dedicated to transforming the world through teachable moments. Our co-founders, Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi, launched Reach And Teach in 2004 as a subsidiary of their award-winning educational consulting company, WKMN Training, LLC.
The road to launching Reach And Teach weaved through Silicon Valley, Mexico, El Salvador, Israel/Palestine, New York and Afghanistan. While running their successful multimedia education consulting company, Craig and Derrick became increasingly involved in peacemaking and social justice issues.
Derrick and Craig traveled to El Salvador in 2000, visiting and working with the people in Communidad Octavio Ortiz. There, they learned the stories of people who had lived through the horrors of civil war, torture, assassination, and the ever-present voices and weapons of "Norte Americano" soldiers who supported the Salvadoran government. Despite the damage inflicted on these people and the pain they endured, they welcomed their American friends into their homes, fed these guests their best food, gave up their own beds, and showered their guests with complete hospitality, kindness and love. These people who had so little gave so much to visiting strangers.
In that community seeds were planted that began to grow inside Craig and Derrick, moving them deeper into a quest for a more peaceful and just planet. Derrick became more deeply involved in border justice (California/Mexico) and Craig began speaking out about the violence between Israelis and Palestinians. September 11th brought war with Afghanistan and soon after the Taliban fell, Craig and Derrick were asked to be part of an interfaith delegation to Afghanistan to bring together people who'd lost loved ones on September 11th with Afghans who had lost loved ones, been injured, or lost homes in the war that followed.
The scenes of destruction and the stories of those who suffered, died, lost loved ones, were horrible. The realities of war could not have been made more clear. Black and white became gray, over and over again, as the mixture of stories about the horrors of the Taliban blended with the horrors of cluster bombs and bunker busters raining down on innocent men, women and children. Yet once again, amidst the blood and tears, hospitality and love were abundant. Wherever the delegation went, all were welcomed with open arms and whatever food and drink could be found. Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists, were honored guests in the rubble of homes, offices, mosques, and schools.
The delegation had been arranged by Global Exchange, a San Francisco human rights organization, and one of the requirements for going was that you had to promise to speak about the experience anywhere and everywhere you could for up to one year after returning. Craig and Derrick spoke in schools, libraries, community centers, churches, and on TV. Their two hour presentation included incredibly powerful stories and stunning photos as well as clear calls to action for ways to help the Afghan people and others caught up in war.
Video from Global Exchange covering 2002 Peace Delegation
On the day before the Iraq invasion in 2003, they were invited to speak at Palo Alto High School's "International Day." While most of the parents and teachers organizing that day wanted it to be completely upbeat, one teacher felt that the students needed a place to talk about and deal with the fact that the country was about to go to war again. Craig and Derrick shared the stories from Afghanistan and also talked about what was about to happen in Iraq. They filled two classrooms twice, with standing room only. The kids paid rapt attention and asked powerful questions.
After the second presentation, as Craig and Derrick were leaving, a young man came up to them to thank them for the presentation. He then said "I don't know what you two do for a living, but whatever it is you should stop. This is what you need to be doing. This is how kids like me need to learn about the world."
He walked away. As they put their stuff in the car to leave, they knew he was right and that they needed to change from being part-time peacemakers into full-time....... what? The idea for Reach And Teach was born.
Today, Reach And Teach creates and distributes books, games, puzzles, toys, curriculum, posters, music, DVDs, green lifestyle, fair-trade, and other products that help to transform the world through teachable moments. Reach And Teach is a treasure hunter, searching the planet for that special something that mainstream stores won't promote. Whether the products come from a non-profit, a small publisher, or an indigenous artisan from a small village across the world, we see our job as making sure that great products can be found under one roof.
Reach And Teach Small Business of the Year 2022
State Senator Josh Becker selected Reach And Teach to be his district's Small Business of the Year. They received their award on August 17th in Sacramento California. In an interview with the San Mateo Daily Journal, Senator Becker said “Craig, Derrick and Reach and Teach focus on the community values and world values we greatly prize in the 13th Senate District,” Becker said in a statement. “The personal learning journey that led Craig and Derrick to take up this mission is as spirited, inspiring and fun as the business they’ve built together.”
Click here to read Senator Becker's press release about the award.
Co-founder Derrick Kikuchi is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara (BSEE/CS) and Stanford University (MSEE). As one of Hewlett-Packard's first firmware and software engineers, Derrick spent nearly two decades at HP, including HP Labs. Intrigued by emerging distance learning technologies in 1991, Derrick founded the HP Media Applications Learning Lab (MALL), helping the company move away from purely classroom education (Same Time, Same Place) to an Anytime, Anyplace paradigm. Derrick co-founded WK Multimedia Network Training in 1994, developing the first interactive e-Learning CD-ROM for 3Com Corporation. Derrick designed additional e-Learning for Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM.
Derrick has been deeply involved in peace and social justice issues through his work as a Presbyterian Elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto. He has been on the board of directors for Northern California Presbyterian Homes and the Council of Churches Santa Clara County. He was an editor for Open Hands, an ecumenical quarterly journal on LGBT inclusion in communities of faith. He has traveled to El Salvador, Mexico, and Afghanistan on peacemaking and solidarity delegations and often lectures on theology, church history, economic justice, and peacemaking.
Derrick currently serves as an ordained elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto where he and Craig were married 32 years ago in the first same-gender marriage in the church's history.
Co-founder Craig Wiesner is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in Organizational Behavior and Adult Learning. Craig is a decorated veteran and John Levitow Honor Graduate (Air Force Leadership School) who spent eight years in the United States Air Force as a linguist, intelligence analyst instructor, and instructional designer at the Defense Language Institute. Craig later applied his expertise in education to the emerging computer networking industry, leading education departments for two Silicon Valley pioneers, Vitalink Communications and SynOptics (Nortel Networks). Craig was a co-founder of WK Multimedia Network Training, developing award-winning classroom and e-Learning courses for clients including industry leaders 3Com, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Lucent, Nortel Networks, and Packeteer.
Craig has been deeply involved in social and economic justice issues and the peace movement for the last 20 years. He is a member of the steering committee for Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice, a Bay Area interfaith peace organization. Craig has been a frequent contributor to the KQED radio perspective series and is a prolific writer whose opinion writing has appeared in the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Mateo Daily Journal, CommonDreams.org, the Christian Science Monitor, and DemCastUSA. Today Craig is a bi-weekly columnist with the San Mateo Daily Journal with columns appearing every other Tuesday.
Craig currently serves as a San Mateo County Commissioner on the LGBTQ Commission, the first such commission to have been formed in California. In his role as a commissioner Craig has spoken at dozens of events, recommended legislative changes at the county and state level, helped raise $2 million dollars in funding for the County Pride Center, worked with the Board of Supervisors to sign onto an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court in a landmark case that recognized that LGBTQ people are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and for the last three years has participated in county-wide efforts to make Covid testing and vaccines available to everyone.
Shelby Olson joined the Reach And Teach team in October of 2020 as a sales associate and is now our Assistant Manager. They are a graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz where they majored in Literature / Creative Writing (graduating Cum Laude). They are passionate about inclusion and social justice and we are grateful that they are part of our team.
Reach And Teach was honored to be selected for the Sustainable San Mateo Award in 2014. BACIPIX, a terrific video company, created this video about us which was shown at the awards dinner.