How We Started

Mark CollinOriginally called “The Toolbox Project,” the TOOLBOX curriculum was developed over eight years while Mark Collin was a counselor in a rural school district in Northern California. In his words, “the children were struggling with many personal and family challenges, in addition to the usual struggles of growing up. They had no tools to recognize and name their feelings and deal with them constructively.”

With Mark’s guidance, the children began to identify and tap into their own inner capacities, strengths, and natural resilience. Mark used the metaphor of a personal toolbox and the symbols of real tools that translated easily into the idea of inner tools. The children “got it” immediately and loved it. They identified and named the 12 Tools together. Over many years, TOOLBOX became a written curriculum and was implemented in more schools. Each school taught Mark more about ways to help teachers and students be kind and empathetic towards one another as well as using the Tools for their own personal empowerment.

In 2006, Mark founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, named The Toolbox Project. The name was changed to Dovetail Learning in 2010, and TOOLBOX continues as the flagship program.

A word from our Founder:

As an organization we are young but our vision is large and the roots of  TOOLBOX are deep. We are committed to bringing this work to children everywhere. The social and emotional skills that TOOLBOX provides are vital if children are to reach their highest potential of personal and academic achievement and become the next generation of productive, engaged citizens and community leaders.

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