Walking the Walk
A Program of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia
100 W. Oxford St., Suite E-1300
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Walking the Walk is a youth program of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. Walking the Walk bridges congregations of diverse faith traditions to work together, to get to know one another, and to sponsor teenagers for a year of dialogue and service. Religious conflict is one of the most pressing public issues of our day. Walking the Walk is a long term, systemic change initiative working in real time and real places to overcome religious conflict and create a culture of understanding. Walking the Walk involves high school students, adult mentors, and local religious leaders in a dozen Sunday afternoons from November through May in dialogue, leadership development, and community service. Students share texts and talk about their experiences with one another and adult leaders, and find that the encounters with others strengthens their own faith and does not dilute it. The skills learned in Walking the Walk enable students to navigate diversity with confidence and strength. Shy students become role models and full participants in conversations; some teens return for a second year as student leaders. The students become able to approach “the other” without making assumptions, and with curiosity motivating them to create relationships with people who appear to be different. Each Walking the Walk network is made up of participants from diverse religious communities, and follows a curriculum that has been developed over the 10-year history of the initiative. 35 congregations and schools, and more than 500 youth have participated over the life of Walking the Walk, which requires significant commitment from all involved.