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Walking the Walk Youth Initiative

Click for Full Album Walking the Walk 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, Walking the Walk features an innovative curriculum designed by a multi-faith professional team with expertise in youth development, service-learning, and systems change. Click here for WTW flyer.

During the 2012 – 2013 Walking the Walk program year, there are four networks comprised of youth from a total of 24 Partner Congregations and Day Schools. Click here for a list of Walking the Walk Networks and Partner Congregations.

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. Walking the Walk participants will:

  • Have meaningful conversations, discover shared values, and develop friendships
  • Appreciate, respect and embrace differences
  • Experience worship spaces and holidays of many traditions
  • Learn to stand up for people being put down
  • Put values into action through community service
  • Discuss current events through a new lens
  • Be a more competitive college or job applicant

Over the past 8 years of running Walking the Walk, the Interfaith Center has developed a cutting edge and flexible curriculum for interfaith youth dialogue and service learning. We train our program facilitators in this curriculum and have shared it with others across the country for their own adaptation and use. The curriculum includes clear learning goals, accommodates diverse learning styles, and every aspect has been field-tested to create a truly transformative educational model. For more information about the Walking the Walk curriculum, training modules and related consultation fees, please see the curriculum here.

Youth Impact:

  • Increased pride in one’s own heritage and identity
  • Deeper appreciation for the traditions and identities of others
  • Enhanced curiosity and ability to ask questions with respect
  • Strengthened commitment to addressing social issues
  • Improved leadership and conflict resolution skills

Read Stories of Impact from Walking the Walk

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

Our Model:


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 identity.

Service Learning

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 Walkintegrates meaningful service with focused learning and engagement with constituents so youth can examine the complexity of societal ills.

Community 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.

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.

Partner Congregations, 2005 – 2013

  • 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
  • Barrack Hebrew Academy, Bryn Mawr
  • Beth Am Israel Synagogue, Penn Valley
  • Beth Shalom Congregation, Elkins Park
  • Bethlehem Baptist Church of Penllyn, Springhouse
  • Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Bryn Mawr
  • Congregation Adath Jeshurun, Elkins Park
  • 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
  • Islamic Community of Valley Forge
  • Hope United Methodist Church, Villanova
  • Villanova Foundation for Islamic Education
  • Main Line Reform Temple, Wynnewood
  • Masjid Mohammad, Philadelphia
  • Masjidullah, Philadelphia
  • 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
  • P’nai Or, Philadelphia
  • Quba Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Philadelphia
  • Reformation Lutheran Church, Philadelphia
  • Rodeph Shalom
  • Second Baptist Church of Germantown
  • Sikh Gurudwara, Upper Darby
  • 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
  • Suburban Jewish Community Center, B’nai Aaron, Havertown
  • Trinity Episcopal Church, Ambler
  • Valley Forge Mosque, Valley Forge
  • Visitation BVM, Philadelphia
  • The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Mosque & Fellowship, Philadelphia
  • West Catholic High School, Philadelphia
  • White Rock Baptist Church, Philadelphia
  • 59th Street Baptist Church, Philadelphia

Service Learning Partners, 2005 – 2012

  • AID for Friends
  • Anti-Hunger Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
  • Books Through Bars
  • 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

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 

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