What is tusi


“As an American society we are more than happy to introduce tourists, whether from our own country or from one of the other 205 in the world, to our own cities but, we are not so eager to open up our cities to the children and youth themselves who live within their boundaries.”
(Mitch Zeisler, Founder, TUSI)

What We Do

The UrbanSoph Initiative (TUSI)  - Urban: relating to cities / Soph: wisdom - is an experiential program empowering a city’s children and youth through knowledge equity. TUSI accomplishes this by introducing them to their cultural, environmental, historical, physical, political, and social surroundings.

TUSI believes that knowledge of the “bigger picture” will provide children and youth (Pioneers) with the opportunity to become self-empowered to achieve their full potential. Through interactions with their cultural, environmental, historical, physical, political, and social surroundings, they will engage in seven program areas “Meaningful Experiences”:

  1. Activities: Pioneers will engage in physical activities that shape their disposition and perspective.
    These are activities that do not typically get accomplished at home, during school or at a community center.  More

  2. Behind-the-Scenes Exchanges: It is within this area of TUSI programming that Pioneers experience things that the public rarely sees! Pioneers will be lead on tours and excursions, behind-the-scenes, at various establishments and operations throughout Boston. They will experience people’s jobs through their eyes and personal stories.  While some tours are available to the general public, those for TUSI Pioneers will be more in depth, informative and interactive!  More

Civil Service Opportunities: CSOs are activities that engage Pioneers in hands-on volunteer based experiences. Volunteering time and energy encourages positive social and personal growth. The value gained from participating in such activities is immeasurable.  More

Dialogues (Distinguished Citizens): TUSI’s mission is to provide young Pioneers with a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. An essential part of this information comes through socially responsible, culturally influenced, and historically-based discussions with some of the most influential people in your city. These citizens are those who have a lesson or tale to share, a success story or advice on how to overcome adversity.  More

Enrichments: This program area encompasses a breadth of fundamentals that are intended to enlighten Pioneers about all the things that their city offers. This includes visiting historical homes, statues & monuments, museums, galleries and seasonal events & festivals.  More

Explorations: Much of the traveling done by the Pioneers during each Initiative includes walking through various neighborhoods in their city.  It is at this point that they will see the city through eyes of the past, present and future. Trained Scholars will be offering historical and new information about structures, waterways, streets and parks.  Celebrity docents will make appearances as well!  More

  1. Victuals: TUSI Pioneers will be dining each day at historically and culturally significant eateries throughout the city. During this time, Pioneers will be educated on the history of the restaurant and the various cultures and cuisines.  More

The success of TUSI will depend on the relationships it builds with a city’s various levels of infrastructure, including but not limited to: government, corporations, public school system, state universities, and community leaders.

How We Do It

TUSI is a full week-long summer Initiative geared towards 10 children and youth between the ages of 10 and 15, with priority given to those whom have not experienced their city beyond their own neighborhood.

Though partnerships with a city’s Mayoral office, school district, local state university, long-standing corporations, etc, TUSI will hire and train Scholars to lead each Initiative and engage the Pioneers. A Super is an administrator associated with each Initiative who overseas the nuts and bolts and ensures that everything runs smoothly.  The week will consist of a curriculum combining the seven Meaningful Experiences, with each Initiative different from the next. More than one Initiative may occur during a given week, and each will commence after a weekend camping trip, including a celebration with all the Pioneer’s families and TUSI organizers.

Upon completion of an Initiative, Pioneers will be sequenced into corresponding program areas within the city and be provided a TUSI Handbook that engages them in further educational programming.  In carrying out each chapter’s activities in the Handbook, Pioneers will ascend further into developmental levels.  It is the aim of TUSI that after carrying out the curriculum presented in the handbook, Pioneers will be offered a better opportunity of admission to a local university.  Through a degree of tuition reimbursement, admission credits, support services and, for those in need, room and board, Pioneers will be supported through their undergraduate studies. Furthermore, Pioneers who successfully complete the handbook and are accepted into a collegiate program will be provided with with a one-week Initiative in a foreign city.

TUSI further recognizes the need to, and intends to, support both the Pioneers and their families, through a Family Support Services program.

Where We’re Going With TUSI

With 64 American cities (2014) having a population of or greater than 300,000 and, at any given time, thousands of children and youth in each of these cities, we aim to become a powerful and supportive organization for the development of generations of American youth.

Theme-based Initiatives (ie: nature-based, civic-based and political-based) and those catering to the handicapable will be made available as TUSI gains success.