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What's New with Walking the Walk™?

Each month, Interfaith Philadelphia publishes a newsletter highlighting what's been happening in our Walking the Walk Networks around the region. If you'd like to join this list, please contact Anneke Kat to start receiving "What's New with Walking the Walk" Newsletters.


September/October 2016

Joining the Interfaith Center Staff this Summer


Dear Walking the Walk Community,


As the Interfaith Center anticipates the start of the Walking the Walk program year this fall, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to this beautiful interfaith network.


It is a great honor to return to the Interfaith Center in my new role as the Walking the Walk Program Manager. I hope to utilize my dedication and experience in community-based social change and youth work for the benefit of the religiously diverse community of Philadelphia and continue the truly meaningful interfaith work Margie Scharf has fostered among youth throughout Greater Philadelphia...

June 2016

Last week, we celebrated Margie Scharf and her legacy as founder and creator of the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative. As we bid farewell to Margie, she is especially proud that we have hired Anneke Kat, a Walking the Walk alum, to serve as our Program Associate and Walking the Walk Manager. Anneke will officially join the Interfaith Center Staff on July 5, 2016.


Anneke obtained a B.A. in International Development and Social Change and a M.A. in Community Development and Planning, both from Clark University. She has several years of academic and practical experience working with refugees and youth on issues of education, economic empowerment, and employment. In 2013 she worked and studied in Namibia, focusing on youth development and nation-building within the context of post-conflict states.

May/June 2016

Congratulations to Our Distinguished Alumni Awardees!


It was an honor to present this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards to Hanna Elmongy and Anneke Kat.  As I prepare to leave my position at the Interfaith Center at the end of June, Hanna and Anneke bring joy to me for many reasons.They each are examples of Walking the Walk students who have grabbed, built upon, and shared the skills, knowledge, and friendships from the Walking the Walkprogram as they navigated college and their own communities.


•    This past year, Hanna co-led the Suburban West Walking the Walk Network!  I met Hanna when she was in 9th grade and watched her blossom in every possible leadership role in the Walking the Walk program...

April 2016

It is spring:  As I walk my new puppy, I notice the emerging green shoots and blossoming flowers more than usual.  “Pearlita” sees, smells, and listens to everything and shows me things I sometimes walk by but don’t notice.   These emerging flowers remind me of the many youth and young adults who I have met through Walking the Walk. I treasure experiencing firsthand or learning of how their gifts, passions, and commitments are blossoming. Over 500 alumni include poets, community organizers and activists, social workers, teachers, writers, college students, child advocates, actors, caring members of their family and community, gardeners, and more... all daring to understand themselves and one another in their own ways...

February 2016

Walking the Walk Students Commit Themselves to MLK's Dream


Philadelphia Network teens and residents of Inglis House, a wheel chair community...

  • Discussed how Dr. King might respond to today’s current events.

  • Joined in a hilarious improv game.

  • Created a mural that brought to life how Dr. King has inspired them and how they commit to walking in Dr. King’s footsteps.


"I learned a lot from the discussion following the movie about the Civil Rights Movement.  As a white Jewish teen, I especially appreciated my conversation with an African American Christian student and new friend, about what Dr. King would think and do if he saw today’s news.  She really helped me see another perspective on the issue of race relations in America. I went home curious and continued to reflect on the question for the rest of the day.”

-- Julia K.


January 2016

“You’re nice.  But you’re not like the rest of them.”


My new college roommate said that to me.  We were eating dinner and she made an anti-Semitic remark about a boy who was going through the cafeteria line.  “Pat,” I said.  “Do you know that I am Jewish?” And in response she said, “You’re nice.  But you’re not like the rest of them.”


Many share this story but with a different twist. An African American Baptist Pastor, a German exchange student, a Moroccan cab driver. Each have shared with me a story that ends with: "You're nice. But you're not like the rest of them."


November 2015

Message from Marjorie Scharf, Director of the Walking the Walk Initiative


If I asked you to bring an object from your tradition that has special meaning to you, what would you bring?  What makes this object personally significant to you?  “Sharing meaningful objects” with one another is an important part of the Walking the Walk program.  It is a way for “walkers” to learn about what is important to their peers as individuals as well as to learn about different traditions.


The process of selecting and sharing an object also strengthens one’s own identity.  At the Walking the Walk Kick Off, several youth and adult leaders of the Philadelphia and West Chester networks modeled how to do this.  We were all captivated by not only by WHAT objects Hanna, Tara, Bayan and Rev. Jay shared, but by HOW they shared it.


October 2015

Walking the Walk Kick-Off Event for Philadelphia, West Chester, and Wissahickon Networks


Sunday, October 18, 2:00 – 4:00 PM at Main Line Reform Temple.

Families welcome! 


Note:  Kick off for Suburban West Network is MLK Day, January 18, 2016, at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church.


Email Margie Scharf at to RSVP!

What's New with Walking the Walk

February/March 2015

Walking The Walk Network Highlights:


  • West Chester Network discusses stereotypes and the recent Chapel Hill murders. Group Leader Max Dugan shares that Walking the Walk, and interfaith work in general, is all about breaking down notions of “us” and “them” so that we can build bridges, learn about and from one another, and catalyze social justice. It speaks to the power of that message that we could leave a session which addressed stereotyping and senseless violence towards young Muslims with a message of unity and shared humanity.

  • Since Walking the Walk’s inception 10 years ago, a favorite session for youth, mentors, and religious leaders has been the Religious Leaders Q & A. Participants in the Q & A of both the Philadelphia and West Chester Networks left with deeper relationships with their peers, a better understanding of the religious traditions of those in their network, and insights into challenges faced by religious leaders...

What's New with Walking the Walk

January 2015

Walking The Walk Network Highlights:


  • On MLK Day, 33 teenagers and Religious Leaders from 7 congregations in the Ambler/Lansdale area participated in “A Day of Walking the Walk,” exploring a church, mosque, and synagogue and engaging in interfaith dialogue. This intergenerational, interfaith group began the day as strangers and left as friends.

  • What is a labyrinth? The Philadelphia Network experienced this ‘journey’ at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, guided by Rev. Joyce Krajian.

  • Student Group Leaders Maddy, Jaron, Husnaa, Mary Grace, Hannah, Anna and their Group Leaders Marilyn Berberich and Max Dugan sharpened their “active listening” skills at January training...

  • Female WTW Alumni and their mothers/grandmothers met to plan an intergenerational, interfaith workshop to be held Summer 2015.

  • West Chester Network worked together to create a "Multi-faith School", a neighborhood school that honored, celebrated, and respected those of all traditions...

What's New with Walking the Walk

November/December 2014

Walking The Walk Network Highlights:


  • Our six Student Group Leaders are helping to lead small group discussions and community building activities and ensuring that everyone is involved.

  • Jewish teens chanted from the Torah as part of an exploration of sacred space at Kesher Israel synagogue in West Chester.

  • In response to a tragic loss of a member of one of our WTW communities, teens discussed end of life traditions and practices.

  • WTWers of the Philadelphia Network shared special symbols from their tradition that convey "hospitality". Examples include a teapot and yummy baklava, a tallit (prayer shawl), church bulletin, mezuzah, and candy canes.


What's New with Walking the Walk

September/October 2014

“Walking the Walk (WTW) just started its 10th year and it still feels fresh and exciting to me!”


It has been a “WOW!” for me to see this year’s Walking the Walkers engaged in the program’s key elements: Interfaith dialogue, communityservice, genuine curiosity, new friendships, and fun.


  • A Christian teen describes the significance of a cross that is veryspecial to him to a Jewish friend (See photo at right)

  • A Baha’i teen introduces his peers to his community’s traditions. Some of his peers knew nothing of the Baha’i faith before

  • A parent describes how WTW empowered her daughter to makethe most of her college experience

  • Each student leaves with a question about his or her own traditionthat he or she will discuss with a parent or grandparent


Walking the Walk Newsletter

May 2014

Walking the Walk Spring E-Newsletter


Dear Interfaith Community of Greater Philadelphia,


With the arrival of Spring, the vibe of each of our five Walking the Walk Networks is changing.  At sessions, participants no longer cling to their ‘old’ friends, the ones they came with from their congregations.


They seek out new friends.  There are more smiles and more laughter.  Many of those reserved  students now share their thoughts and perspectives more easily.  There is a sense of joy in spending time together. 

Help our youth Dare to Understand.

June 2013

Help our youth Dare to Understand.


At the Interfaith Center, we believe that all youth should have the opportunity to “Dare to Understand” through our Walking the Walk initiative, irrespective of their financial abilities. This is why we are deeply committed to providing scholarship funds to youth and communities in need.


Each year, Walking the Walk:

  • Provides approximately $10,000 in scholarship funds to 40% of our youth participants

  • Serves communities throughout Greater Philadelphia

  • Develops lifelong leaders in our region


Each year as our enrollment increases, so does the need for scholarships...

Youth Go Global & Leaders Love Questions

March 2013

Youth Go Global & Leaders Love Questions


Dear Interfaith Center Partners and Friends,


At the start of 2013, I was reminded of the vibrant network that the Walking the Walk program has created over the past six years. On January 6th, we were pleased to welcome over 80 friends of Walking the Walk to the Philadelphia Baha’i Center. We joined together for a meal and a discussion of the film, "Education Under Fire", a documentary that draws attention to the educational barriers faced by the Baha'i Community in Iran.. Walking the Walk alumnus Anisa Tavangar brought the film to our attention and we thank her for her continued interest in interfaith dialogue. Read on to find updates and photos from each of our networks, as our community continues to grow!


With appreciation,

Marjorie Scharf, Director of Youth Initiatives and Group Leader for the Central Philadelphia Network

Walking the Walk News & Updates

November 2012

Walking the Walk - News & Updates


Dear Walking the Walk Partners & Friends,


I am thrilled that this year, over 125 high school youth and adult mentors from 25 different congregations have begun their Walking the Walk journey: encountering other faith traditions, engaging in meaningful conversations with new friends, sharing joys and fears and questions about religion, laughing together, and creating a safe space to share without the fears of being put down, saying something weird or wrong or sounding ignorant.


This journey also includes exploring how their own and each other's traditions calls them to provide service, as well as provides an opportunity to experience the enormous potential of interfaith cooperation to make the world a better place...

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