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Walking the Walk™ Alumni

Walking the Walk encourages its alumni to stay involved with the goals and mission of the Interfaith Center after they graduate from Walking the Walk. Alumni events, which are planned by a student planning committee, include service-learning projects, speaking opportunities at public events, and leadership workshops. Some alumni serve as Student Group Leaders, working as assistants for their Walking the Walk network, while others are involved with the Alumni Communications Team or other opportunities.

All Walking the Walk alumni are encouraged to get involved with this initiative! See the schedule of upcoming alumni events or apply to be a Student Group Leader below.

“Event though I had to sacrifice a couple extra Sunday afternoons, [being a Student Group Leader] was totally worth it. The increased knowledge and experience I gained from my year as a Student Group Leader has changed the way I think in a way that affirms the ideals of religious tolerance and understanding, two things that I now think are vital in finding your own true religious identity. Over all, being a Student Group Leader was an absolutely incredible experience for me.” —Anna, Walking the Walk Student Group Leader 2014-2015 , Philadelphia Network

Opportunities – Summer 2015

We are currently in the process of selecting the Student Group Leaders for the 2015-2016 Walking the Walk program year. In addition, there are two upcoming opportunities for Walking the Walk alumni:

Interfaith, Intergenerational Women's Workshop

MDRWHAT: Interfaith, intergenerational retreat for female Walking the Walk alumnae and their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and/or other special women in their lives.

WHEN: Sunday, June 28th from 1 PM to 6 PM

WHERE: SHJC Province – 1341 Montgomery Avenue, Rosemont PA 19010

COST: $75/family group (scholarships available)

Click here to find more information and register!

Please contact Antonia at antonia@interfaithcenterpa.org or 570 972 7964 with any questions

FREE Walking the Walk College Essay Writing Workshop

WTW Essay Workshop Flyer - 4 June 2015

Transform your Walking the Walk experience into an essay for applications for college, scholarships, internships, and more! Doretta McGinnis and Ned Luce of Admission Logic, LLC provide expert advice to help students and their families successfully navigate the college admissions process.

WHAT: Essay writing workshop exclusively for Walking the Walk alumni, in which Doretta and Ned explain the importance of essays in the admissions process and how students can incorporate their Walking the Walk experience into their application essays. After the workshop, they will provide individualized feedback on students’ essay drafts
WHEN: Thursday July 23rd from 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM (dinner provided)

WHEREMastery Charter School, Shoemaker Campus – 5301 Media Street, Philadelphia PA 19131

COST: TOTALLY FREE!

Click here to find more information and register!

Please contact Antonia at antonia@interfaithcenterpa.org or 570 972 7964 with any questions

Check back here for new opportunities for Walking the Walk alumni! If you are interested in or have questions about any programs, please contact Margie Scharf, Director of the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative, at mns@interfaithcenterpa.org.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

The Walking the Walk Distinguished Alumni Award, presented annually at the Walking the Walk End of the Year Celebration, seeks to recognize and honor alumni of the Walking the Walk initiative who exemplify the Walking the Walk values and characteristics in their lives.

This year, the Walking the Walk Distinguished Alumni Award recognized two alumnae, both of whom have done a superb job of carrying the spirit of the Walking the Walk youth initiative and of interfaith cooperation far beyond their program years.

Please join the Interfaith Center in congratulating Suzanne Bernstein and Leena Mazid, the 2015 recipients of the Walking the Walk Distinguished Alumni Award!

Suzanne Bernstein

Suzanne Bernstein, one of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

Suzanne Bernstein is a 2011-2013 Walking the Walk alumna currently at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently an intern in the Campus Entrepreneur initiative through the Jewish Renaissance Project on campus. As part of this program, Suzy and a group of 14 other sophomores involved with various campus organizations meet every week to discuss issues pertaining to Judaism and Jewish identity – ranging from marriage in the Jewish to community, to Israel, to the intersections of culture and faith, and much more. In addition, Suzy is trying to break barriers on campus to make people who identify as culturally Jewish feel comfortable with their identity. Suzy credits her genuine curiosity about the space of religion in people’s lives, her sympathy, and her eagerness to engage in constructive discussion on campus, to her experience with the Walking the Walk youth initiative.

Leena Mazid

Leena Mazid, one of the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

Leena Mazid is a 2009-2010 Walking the Walk alumna currently studying psychology at Goucher College. At present, Leena is working with the college chaplain at Goucher to build a multifaith center in order to make religious gatherings and prayer more accessible for students who wish to practice their faith regularly, especially in residential halls. Leena’s efforts were inspired by her experience in the Walking the Walk youth initiative, as well as advice from the staff of the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia. Leena credits the Walking the Walk youth initiative with giving her strong leadership skills, and is pleased that she has been able to continue to reach out to people from the Interfaith Center even after she graduated from the Walking the Walk youth initiative.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

For the past three years, the Interfaith Center and the Walking the Walk youth initiative have been proud to honor those outstanding alumni whose work and lives typify the goals of the Walking the Walk youth initiative. Past recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award are as follows:

Dahlia Kenawy (2014)

Jessica Solomon (2013)

Nicole Kligerman (2013)

Claire Solomon (2013)

Baswweah Watson (2013)

What’s New

The Waking the Walk program for 2014-2015 ended with a great Year End Celebration on May 17th, 2015. Stay tuned for updates on the Walking the Walk 2015-2016 program year!

Check Out Our 2014-2015 Walking the Walk Photo Gallery!

“I have still found myself being challenged and taught by the insightful discussions we have had in the Walking the Walk sessions. There is always more to learn and uncover within our interfaith understanding.” — Mary Grace, Walking the Walk Student Group Leader 2014-2015, Philadelphia Network 

Student Group Leaders 2015-2016

Husnaa Hashim, Philadelphia Network

Husnaa Hashim - OLD HeadshotStudent Group Leader Husnaa is a sophomore at Mastery Charter – Shoemaker Campus, and is returning for her second year as a Walking the Walk student group leader. Husnaa says interfaith dialogue is important to her because she sees it as a way towards acceptance and understanding within our city, as discussion allows us to maintain our personal traditions and also appreciate the traditions of others, which is especially important for youth within a moderated forum. According to Husnaa, students leave the Walking the Walk program without potential prejudices, because of the opportunities they were given to engage with peers from different communities activities (such as through community service, seeing sacred spaces through one another’s eyes, etc). She is excited to return as a Student Group Leader because she believes the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative has a lot to give, and feels that the longer she is able to be involved, the more she will be able to gain from it. The Walking the Walk program is revolutionary because nothing like it exists in the country. Husnaa feels that as a Muslim girl whose narrative is often lost, deepening her understanding of others allows for people to have an exchange and eventually greet this world with unbiased empathy. Aside from the Walking the Walk program, Husnaa’s interests include writing, going to camp, and activism.

Julia Kothmann, Philadelphia Network

Student Group Leader Julia is a 17 year old Senior at Lower Merion High School. She loves to read and sing, and is involved with various musical groups at her school. She comes from the Jewish tradition and is a member of Beth Am Israel Synagogue. She finds politics and religion very interesting and wants to make the world a better, safer place for all people. Julia believes improving interfaith relations is an important part of achieving this goal, and is therefore very excited to be part of the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative again this year as a Student Group Leader. Julia says she had a great time with the Walking the Walk program last year, and wants to help others have the same amazing experience while continuing her own interfaith education. A fun fact about Julia is that she is great at solving anagrams.

Mary Grace Murray, Philadelphia Network

Mary Grace Murray - HeadshotStudent Group Leader Mary Grace is a senior at the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, an all girl’s Catholic school. This is her third year of involvement with the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative, and her second year as a Student Group Leader. One of Mary Grace’s favorite aspects of Catholicism is the emphasis on the importance of service. Mary Grace says that Walking the Walk Youth Initiative teaches not only about various religions, but also about the importance of service within the community. She loves breaking down barriers and seeing that many of the core values of people’s religions are actually the same, and are just interpreted in different ways in peoples’ daily lives. Mary Grace is excited for a second year as a Student Group Leader and cannot wait to hear about the perspectives the new students will have, along with the students of faith backgrounds she has not yet interacted with. A fun fact about Mary Grace is that she loves photography in her spare time.

Deanna Thomas, Philadelphia Network

Deanna Thomas - HeadshotStudent Group Leader Deanna is a 17 year old senior at Hardy Williams High School Mastery Charter, and lives in West Philadelphia. She attends a nondenominational church called Church of the Christian Compassion where she ushers and sometimes assists in the children’s church. She learned about the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative through Girl Scouts, and it has become one of her many passions. She has enjoyed learning the teachings and cultures of various religions that she’s never researched independently. Deanna says this program has even granted her the opportunity to learn and understand more about her own religion. She says she’s excited for another Walking the Walk year because she knows she will learn even more, meet new people, and incorporate more into the program so that the new participants can also have a great experience with the program – just like she has. A fun fact about Deanna is that she is a morning person, and often randomly breaks out into song.

Denise Thomas, Philadelphia Network

Denise Thomas - HeadshotStudent Group Leader Denise is currently a 12th grader at Hardy Williams Mastery Charter School Campus. She is a part of many school programs such as the Glee Club and newspaper. Off of school grounds she’s a Girl Scout. The number thing she liked about the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative is that not only does she learn more about her faith but she enjoys learning new things about other faiths as well. Denise hopes to stay with the Walking the Walk program for the rest of her lifetime. She enjoys meeting people and telling others the important facts that she learned from the Walking the Walk program.

Bayan Toloubadei, Philadelphia Network

Bayan Toloubadei - HeadshotStudent Group Leader Bayan is a 16 year old rising junior at Renaissance Academy Charter School. He is a member of the Baha’i community, and loves to play all kinds of sports and stay active. One of Bayan’s core beliefs is that sports and physical activities have an amazing power in bringing people of different ethnic/cultural and religious backgrounds together. Besides sports, another one of Bayan’s passions is all different kinds of music, and he can often be found telling people about the music he is currently listening to. Along with sports, Bayan believes music to be another tool for bringing people together. Bayan says he likes bringing people together and doing everything he can to assist everyone he can while living his life in a path of service.

Joseph Rockford, Suburban West Network

Joseph Rockford - HeadshotStudent Group Leader Joseph is going into his senior year of high school at Lower Merion High School. He plans to attend college in the fall of 2016 and major in Animal Science. He is excited to become a Student Group Leader because he loves sharing ideas about different religions with others, and he believes the Walking the Walk program provides the perfect opportunity to do this. He is a Reform Jew and a member of the Main Line Reform Temple. A fun fact about Joseph is that he has seen over 100 bands perform live — including seeing Bruce Springsteen perform in Paris, France.

 

 

Sarah Silberg, Suburban West Network

Sarah Silberg - HeadshotStudent Group Leader Sarah is a senior at Lower Merion High School. She attends Main Line Reform Temple, and this is her second year with the Walking the Walk Youth Initiative. She is excited to spend the year working as a Student Group Leader because she believes Interfaith work to be important in our society, and that it is our responsibility to make sure the future of interfaith work is prosperous. Sarah is excited to spend the next year working with the new group of Walking the Walk students. A fun fact about Sarah is that she has been swimming competitively since she was four years old and hopes to continue swimming next year in college.

 

Arisha Syed, West Chester Network

Arisha Syed - HeadshotStudent Group Leader Arisha is a senior at Avon Grove High school and a part of the Muslim tradition. Arisha says that as Muslims, her family has many different religious and cultural traditions that are very important to them – her personal favorite being the celebration of Eid al-Fitr with her friends and family. Arisha says this is the one time of year that her extended family gets together to celebrate the end of Ramadan, and that her family celebrates by getting dressed up in new outfits, exchanging gifts, and going to the Eid al-Fitr Prayer at their mosque. Arisha has really enjoyed her Walking the Walk experience this past year, creating new friendships with the other young adults in the group. Her favorite part of the Walking the Walk year was the Yom Hashoah session at the Kesher Israel synagogue, where a Holocaust survivor spoke about his past struggles and how it changed his point of view on life. Arisha found this session incredibly moving, and cites it as something she will never forget. She is excited to be a Student Group Leader this year, and is looking forward to being a role model for the next group of Walking the Walk students. She hopes to open their eyes to the many unique religious and cultural traditions present in the community. A fun fact about Arisha is that she has a passion for cooking and baking, and is the treasurer and secretary for the Amnesty International organization at her school.

Past Student Group Leaders

2014-2015

  • Hannah Deutsch, Philadelphia Network
  • Madeline Garber, Philadelphia Network
  • Husnaa Hashim, Philadelphia Network
  • Anna Luce, Philadelphia Network
  • Mary Grace Murray, Philadelphia Network
  • Jaron Teegen Case, West Chester Network

2013 – 2014

  • Lev Boonin, Northwest Philadelphia Network
  • Sarah Elmongy, Suburban-West/Media Network
  • Quinia Evans, Northwest Philadelphia Network
  • Jami Gross, West/Central Philadelphia Network
  • Arman Hassan, Suburban-West Network
  • Elise Higgins, Suburban-West Network
  • Kyra Lesser, Suburban-West Network
  • Matt Newman, Wissahickon Network
  • Rogena Rezkalla, Suburban-West/Media Network
  • Nicole Thompson, Wissahickon Network
  • Mickey Viola, Suburban-West Network
  • Margot Weitz, West/Central Philadelphia Network

2012 – 2013

  • Dalia Al-Bataineh, Suburban West Network
  • Suzanne Bernstein, Suburban West Network
  • Quinia Evans, Central Philadelphia Network
  • Tal Gilad, Wissahickon Network
  • Sophia Gluskin-Braun, Northern Day School Network
  • MaryKate Glenn, Northern Day School Network
  • Sharika Maliha, Wissahickon Network
  • Hasinah Rahman, Central Philadelphia Network
  • Sam Slavitt, Northern Day School Network
  • Graham Small, Suburban West Network
  • Katrina Tacconelli, Suburban-West Network
  • Leah Zebovitz, Central Philadelphia Network

2011 – 2012

  • Sydney Fleekop, Matt Siegleman, Suburban West Network
  • Ricca Marx, Wissahickon Network
  • Sophia Waldstein, North/Northwest Network
  • Ilanit Goldberg, Wissahickon Network
  • Arin Ahlum Hanson, Suburban West Network
  • Rev. Rob McClellan, Day School Network
  • Rev. Lamont A. Wells, Northwest Philadelphia Network

2010-2011

  • Aniqa Hassan, Anisa Tavangar – Suburban-West Network
  • Miriam Jason – Cheltenham Network
  • Baseerah Watson, Mara Pliskin, Sheannah Conneen – West Philadelphia Network

2009-2010

  • Dahlia Kenawy, Hanna Elmongy – Havertown Network
  • Anneke Kat, Wyatt Smith, Isam Osman – Suburban-West Network
  • Sa’ood Abdul-Basit, Danny Garfield – West Philadelphia Network

2008-2009

  • Dan Siegelman, Halimah Bakillah, Yasmine Hadjar – Suburban West Network
  • Hannah Weilbacher, Hope Platt, Kamil Saeid – West Philadelphia Network

2007-2008

Past Green Team Leaders

2010-2011

      • Lisa Doi
      • Noah Kosherick
      • Hanna Elmongy
      • Sa’ood Abdul-Basit
      • Michael Klingerman

2009-2010

      • Allison Peiser, The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
      • Emna Bakillah
      • Layla Tavangar
      • Leena Mazid
      • Michael Kligerman
      • Monique Smith
      • Noah Kosherick

2008-2009

      • Amanda Mazid
      • Dahlia Kenawy
      • Isam Osman
      • Layla Tavangar
      • Michael Kligerman
      • Sarah Claussen, The Lutheran Seminary
      • Qamar Muhaimin, Student Group Leader
      • Zia Islam

2007-2008

      • Halima Bakillah
      • Ibrahim Muhaimin
      • Ja’Milla Fitzhugh
      • Marjorie Scharf, Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia
      • Michael Kligerman
      • Michael Wanatik
      • Michael Pasek
      • Mikeerah Smith
      • Monique Smith
      • Qamar Muhaimin


There is a great individualistic variety of faith tradition and people in Walking The WalkTM, and this greatly appealed to me because I literally felt that I was learning from and with my peers rather than only hearing about how different people live different lives. I will forever be grateful for those I have met, and for the immeasurable knowledge we have acquired from each other, together.” – Husnaa, Walking the Walk Student Group Leader 2014-2015, Philadelphia Network