Walking the Walk™ Youth Initiative
“Walking the Walk is the most sophisticated youth program I have seen across the country.” — Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, National Public Radio Interview 2/12/08
The Walking the Walk Youth Initiative is a nationally-recognized initiative that provides teenagers with experiences, skills, and resources necessary to live in a diverse world, deepen their own identities, and break through walls that distance and divide them from people of other religious, cultural, and economic backgrounds. Field-tested in urban and suburban settings with schools and congregations of many faiths, 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.
- Develop deeper commitment to addressing current events and social issues
- Increase pride in one’s own heritage and identity
- Improve leadership and conflict resolution skills
- Build friendships, have meaningful conversations, and discover shared values
- Experience worship spaces and holidays of many traditions
- Learn to stand up for people being put down
- Actualize values through thoughtful community service
- Appreciate traditions and identities of others
- Become a more competitive college or job applicant
- Join a tightly-knit community of Walking the Walk Alumni
Leaders and Partners
Each Walking the Walk group is led by a team of individuals charged with nurturing the best experience possible. Group Leaders are hired and trained by the Interfaith Center to facilitate Walking the Walk sessions and coordinate partnerships with congregations and service sites. Student Group Leaders are Walking the Walk alumni who serve as assistants to the Group Leader. Mentors are selected by participating congregations to accompany the youth on the Walking the Walk journey. Mentors serve as confidants who foster the ideas, questions, and dreams of the youth and as advocates who can help bring to light their hopes and struggles.
During the 2014 – 2015 Walking the Walk program year, there were three networks comprised of youth from a total of 24 Partner Congregations and Day Schools. Click here for a list of the 2014-2015 Walking the Walk Networks and Partner Congregations. Partner list for 2015-2016 is coming soon!
The Walking the Walk Partner List from 2005-2014:
- Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, Corpus Christi Church, Villanova
- Adath Israel
- Al Aqsa Islamic Society School, Philadelphia
- Arch Street United Methodist Church
- Archbishop Carroll High School, Villanova
- Baha’i Community of Philadelphia
- Baha’i Community of West Chester
- Barrack Hebrew Academy, Bryn Mawr
- Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Mosque & Fellowship, Philadelphia
- Beth Shalom Congregation, Elkins Park
- Bethlehem Baptist Church of Penllyn, Springhouse
- Blooming Glen Mennonite Church
- Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr
- Christopher Dock High School, Lansdale
- Church of the Loving Shepherd, West Chester
- Community Hebrew High School of Adath Israel and Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El
- Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Elkins Park
- Congregation Beth Am Israel Synagogue, Penn Valley
- Congregation Bet Israel, Media
- Congregation Beth Or, Maple Glen
- First United Methodist Church of Germantown
- Germantown Friends School, Philadelphia
- Germantown Jewish Centre, Philadelphia
- Grace Trinity United Church of Christ, Philadelphia
- Hope United Methodist Church, Villanova
- Islamic Community of Valley Forge
- Islamic Society of Chester County
- Kesher Israel Synagogue, West Chester
- Villanova Foundation for Islamic Education
- Main Line Reform Temple, Wynnewood
- Masjid Mohammad, Philadelphia
- Masjidullah, Philadelphia
- Mastery Charter School – Shoemaker Campus
- Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia
- Mount Airy Church of God in Christ, Philadelphia
- Mount Airy Presbyterian Church
- Mount St. Joe’s Academy, Flourtown
- Mount Zion Baptist Church, Philadelphia
- Neighborhood Interfaith Center (NIM)
- New Horizons Islamic School
- North Penn Mosque, Lansdale
- Or Hadash Synagogue
- Philadelphia Baha’i Community, Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Sikh Society, Upper Darby
- Plymouth Bal Vihar, Blue Bell
- P’nai Or, Philadelphia
- Quba Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Philadelphia
- Reforation Lutheran Church, Media
- Reformation Lutheran Church, Philadelphia
- Rodeph Shalom
- Second Baptist Church of Germantown
- St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Bryn Mawr
- St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Ardmore
- St. Mary and St. Mercurius Coptic Orthodox Church, Newark, Delaware
- St. John’s Lutheran Church, Elkins Park
- St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Roxborough
- Suburban Jewish Community Center, B’nai Aaron, Havertown
- Tabernacle Unite Church
- Trinity Episcopal Church, Ambler
- Unionville Presbyterian Church, West Chester
- Valley Forge Mosque, Valley Forge
- Visitation BVM, Philadelphia
- West Catholic High School, Philadelphia
- Westtown School, West Chester
- White Rock Baptist Church, Philadelphia
- 59th Street Baptist Church, Philadelphia
The Walking the Walk Youth Initiative partners with organizations in the Philadelphia area in order to complete projects that are both meaningful and thoughtful. Walking the Walk youth also examine the root causes of social issues, rather than simply completing a routine project.
Watch a video about the work being done with one of the Walking the Walk Service Learning Partners!
Below is a list of Walking the Walk Service Learning Partners from 2005-2015:
- AID for Friends
- Anti-Hunger Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
- Books Through Bars
- Chester County Food Bank
- Chosen 300, Philadelphia
- City Harvest Program, Philadelphia Green, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia
- Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center, Philadelphia
- Fairmount Park, City of Philadelphia
- Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, Philadelphia
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society(HIAS), Philadelphia
- Inglis House, Philadelphia
- Inter-faith Housing Alliance(I-FHA)
- Lower Merion Conservancy
- Mill Creek Farm
- Mid-County Senior Services, Havertown
- Mitzvah Food Project, Philadelphia
- New Sanctuary Movement, Philadelphia
- Nutritional Development Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Emergency Center, Philadelphia
- SHARE Food Program, Philadelphia
- Urban Tree Connection
- Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association
Read Youth Stories of Impact and Poetic Reflections
“Walking the Walk dispelled a lot of misconceptions I had about other religions and gave me the confidence to join a diversity group at my high school.” — Jayne, Jewish participant, Walking the Walk
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 identity.
Each network is paired with one or more social service organizations which addresses a social justice issue or community problem. Through service-learning at the particular site, participants put their interfaith values into action. Walking the Walk integrates meaningful service with focused learning and engagement with constituents so youth can examine the complexity of societal ills.
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.
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.
The ‘What’s New with Walking the Walk?’ Newsletter
“Youth have a way of bringing down the curtain on tired, old dramas. These youngsters seem determined to write a new script…” — New York Times, article about Walking the Walk, 11/11/08
Interfaith Pop Quiz!
What is the fastest growing religious group in the world?
Which is not an Abrahamic religion?
Which religious group is the most negatively viewed by Americans?
Jesus is mentioned in the Quran.
Which religion is projected to have the most adherents in the year 2050?
Correct answers are in italics.What is the fastest growing religious group in the world?
Relgiously UnaffiliatedWhich of the following is not an Abrahamic religion?
IslamWhich religious group is the most negatively viewed by Americans?
SikhsJesus is mentioned in the Quran.
FalseWhich religion is projected to have the most adherents in the year 2050?