Crossing Lines

Lines Connect Us

Somerville, MA   |  https://www.crossinglines.org

Mission

To connect people across cultural and social divides.

Ruling year info

2018

Executive Director, President

Sonya Iverson

Main address

57 Rogers Ave Apt 1

Somerville, MA 02144 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

82-4478790

NTEE code info

Other Recreation, Sports, or Leisure Activities N.E.C. (N99)

International Migration, Refugee Issues (Q71)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

As the world becomes more connected through travel and technology, we are both more aware of the worlds beauty and more aware of the worlds problems. Fear of unknowns and people we view as 'other' is amplified with every headline. Bias, both conscious and unconscious, affects our decisions every day. This has become strikingly clear in the last 10 years as the wars in Syria and elsewhere have led to a refugee crisis and exposed racial biases worldwide. The Black Lives Matter movement and the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have brought a spotlight onto racism and police brutality in the US. Decades of partisan politics has led to a country more divided than ever. Worldwide, COVID has highlighted economic disparity. Our programs are designed to adapt over time to address critical issues of the day.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Crossing Lines Lebanon

We teach slacklining to refugee and low-income Lebanese youth in Lebanon to support psychosocial development, education, and community development.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
At-risk youth
Refugees and displaced people

We teach slacklining to refugee youth in Denver and other U.S. locations to support community development, language learning, and psychosocial development.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
At-risk youth
Refugees and displaced people

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We aim to connect people across social and cultural divides through sports and community outreach programs.

We believe in the power of connection and understanding and work to bring people closer together to reduce the barriers caused by cultural differences and social divides. By doing so, we hope to have a small impact on the refugee crisis, racial issues, etc., and by changing the way we see each other.

We hope to be able to change the conversations around refugees, race, and other issues through our programs and media to influence public perceptions and policy towards building a more inclusive and supportive world.

Since 2017, we've been teaching slacklining to refugee youth in the US and Lebanon to help refugee youth connect with their local peers through sports. Slacklining also provides a medium for our students to learn social skills, language, and other childhood development skills. Slacklining is a mindfulness activity, helping participants to train emotional regulation and focus. It also acts as an incentive for students to attend school / non-formal education programs in order to participate in the slackline program.

Additionally, we work with our partners to create media (photos, videos) that highlight the healthy, fun, human perspective of our slackline sessions to help change the way the world see refugees in hopes of encouraging more supportive policies.

We also host an international slackline event in Lebanon each year (canceled in 2020 due to COVID) that draws athletes and travelers from around the world to experience a piece of the Middle East for themselves. Many of these participants join our refugee teaching program as volunteer instructors. Through this, we are building a network of ambassadors who can return home or travel elsewhere and share their experience of the Middle East. This event also brings a significant boost to local tourism revenues for a small Lebanese community with whom we work closely to host it each year.

Our board of directors consists of well-known slackliners who have had significant experience in the international slackline community, traveling to dozens of countries to organize or participate in slackline festivals and events.

Sonya Iverson was the first woman to highline in Iran, leading the original Crossing Lines project in 2014 with American and Iranian slackliners working together despite the sanctions in place at the time. She also founded Slackline US, the national slacklining advocacy organization which works closely with the National Parks Services and Bureau of Land Management etc to ensure access to slacklining in public lands while promoting conservation ethics. In this role, she led efforts to take over a 300+ person slackline festival in the Moab desert to minimize environmental impact and convert this unofficial event into a permitted and insured.

Additionally, Sonya was the founding president of the International Slackline Association, the slackline equivalent of the UIAA (international climbing organization) which works to coordinate the international slackline community, provide guidelines around safety and manufacturing of slackline equipment, and support slackline events around the world. Founded with only 4 national organizations in 2015, the ISA now boasts dozens of national organizations as members.

Bradley Duling is known in the slackline community both for his role as one of the founders of the ISA as well as his engineering efforts around slackline equipment design and a-frames to improve slackling rigging safety. As part of the ISA, he was instrumental in developing the organizations structure and various programs, particularly in his efforts with the safety committee. He was part of the original Crossing Lines project in Iran and has been instrumental in developing the teaching projects in Lebanon. His expertise in rigging and engineering has been incredibly helpful working with minimal resources in the refugee settlements.

Mike Payton was one of the first professional slackliners, traveling the world for trickline competitions for many years. He is well regarded as an excellent slackliner and slackline instructor. He has been leading our program in Colorado teaching slacklining to refugee and local youth with the YMCA and the International Rescue Committee.

In addition to our core team, we have a wide network of exceptional slackliners and slackline instructors from around the world through our travels and experience with the ISA. We use this network to recruit volunteers which allows us to not only minimize costs, but also provides our participants with exposure to people from more than a dozen cultures every year.

This network also provides us with discount and donated slackline equipment from members of the community and equipment manufacturers, further reducing our costs.

We have also worked to build relationships with Salam LADC, IRC, Arcenciel, and other local NGOs.

All told, we've worked with around 3,300 refugee youth between 2017 and 2019, primarily in Lebanon, with a total of more than 50 volunteers from dozens of countries. We've done this with less than $20,000 a year in budget primarily supported by donations from individuals.

As part of our media efforts, we have worked with multiple exceptional photographers and videographers to capture meaningful imagery of our programs since the beginning. We share the photos on social media and with various print/online publications covering our programs. Using the footage, we are working with a production company to create a documentary of the Lebanon programs which we hope will help show a different view of the refugee crisis.

We've worked with a couple of sports brands to expand our reach and produced a short 2 minute promotional video that tells the story of our non-profit which was promoted by both brands.

A feature article on our program was published as the cover issue of Popular Mechanics in April 2017, reaching millions of readers. They also promoted the video to their audiences.

We have supported short term satellite programs modeled after our Colorado program in St. Louis and Albuquerque run by inspired volunteers.

Financials

Crossing Lines
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Crossing Lines

Board of directors
as of 2/25/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sonya Iverson

Bradley Duling

Michael Payton

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/20/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data