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A Note About Walking the Walk 2021-22:

Interfaith Philadelphia is committed to the safety of youth, their families, and our community in the face of COVID-19.  The Walking the Walk youth initiative may begin in a virtual format. It is our hope to gather in person for experiential sessions as soon as possible while utilizing PPE, social distancing, and outdoor spaces.  Interfaith Philadelphia staff and host communities will continue to evaluate our policies on in-person gatherings throughout the year.

 

Applications are due by September 30th, 2021.

 

If you have any questions concerning the program or COVID-19 safety, please contact Sara Zebovitz at ssz@interfaithphiladelphia.org.

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The Walking the Walk Youth Initiative is a nationally-recognized youth leadership program. Teens engage with peers in their community, explore their values and moral imagination in the world, and participate in activities and conversations that stretch them to grow as leaders with empathy, curiosity for difference, and skills for allyship and solidarity.

The program is led by a Group Leader alongside Student Group Leaders (teens with previous experience in the program who join as a leader in the following year) charged with nurturing the best experience possible.

The Walking the Walk program meets 1-2 Sunday afternoons per month between October and April. Each session, participants will visit a faith community and reflect together, occasionally participating in a service learning project.

Completion of the program will result in an award of 30 hours of community service.

 

Pillars of the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative

 

Interfaith Engagement

We provide a safe environment for youth of diverse faith traditions to come together, break down stereotypes, share their distinctive practices and beliefs, and learn common values.

 

From sharing ritual objects to touring faith communities to question and answer sessions with religious leaders, youth learn about other religions while strengthening their own religious identities.

Creative Reflection

A critical and constant component of the program is helping youth develop tools for integrating their experiences and expressing what those experiences mean for them as young people of faith engaged in their communities. Creative reflection takes on many forms including poetry, journaling, and collage.

Relationship Building

The program aims to strengthen communities on individual, congregational, and regional levels.

 

It strives to highlight key elements of healthy development for youth, such as: feeling empowered, being valuable resources for the community, forming supportive relationships with peers and adult mentors, and building positive identities.

Service Learning

Each network is paired with one or more social service organizations which address a social justice issue or community problem. Through service-learning at the particular site, participants put their interfaith values into action. 

 

The Walking the Walk Youth Initiative integrates meaningful service with focused learning and engagement with constituents so youth can examine the complexity of societal ills.

 

In this program, you will:

Experience  worship spaces and holidays of many traditions
Appreciate  traditions and identities of others, and take pride in your heritage
Build  friendships and discover shared values
Learn  to stand with others in solidarity
Discuss  local and global social issues, and deepen your understanding of your community responsibility
Actualize  values through thoughtful community service
Develop  leadership and facilitation skills to carry into your future - college, jobs, relationships, and more!
Join  a tightly-knit community of Walking the Walk Alumni

Field-tested in urban and suburban settings with schools and congregations of many faiths over the course of more than 15 years, the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative features an innovative curriculum designed by a multi-faith professional team with expertise in youth development, service-learning, and systems change.  Group Leaders are hired and trained by Interfaith Philadelphia to facilitate Walking the Walk sessions and coordinate partnerships with congregations and service sites. 

 

For educators and leaders outside of the Philadelphia region, please check out our curriculum sample above and contact us if you are interested in starting a Walking the Walk program in your area!

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Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder of Interfaith Youth Core

NPR Interview 2/12/08

“Walking the Walk is the most sophisticated youth program I have seen across the country.”