I’ve always believed that volunteerism and service are powerful pathways to Jewish engagement. Our learning from The Front Porch affirms it, too — Torah is the birthright of all Jews, and it comes alive for people when they engage in meaningful volunteer service that’s infused with Jewish learning and values. This is why we’ve been in collaborative discussions with Repair the World, a nonprofit dedicated meaningful service for young adults. We want to bring their model of immersive, impactful volunteering to Atlanta. Repair recruits courageous and compassionate young leaders to become Fellows who spend a year embedded in high-need communities. They address social inequity through sustained local service and developing partnerships with local organizations around issues like education and food justice. So I’m beyond thrilled to say that Repair the World is opening an Atlanta office. (And also looking for a full time Director).
Repair is already on the ground serving Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Miami and New York. They’re just what we need in Atlanta, and their partnership model aligns perfectly with what The Front Porch is process is telling us to do — make more transformative Jewish experiences available to people who are ready to re-engage through value-driven Jewish service. Jodi Mansbach and Michael Kay are Repair the World board members, and they’ve been champions for bringing Repair to Atlanta. Thanks to both!
Repair’s Board Chair, Larry Brooks, recently shared news about the organization’s impact in eJewishPhilanthropy. “In the 2013-14 program year, RTW Fellows engaged 3,600 unique participants in their communities. By 2016-17, the number of unique participants grew to 25,000 – of whom a strong majority are coming back repeatedly and reporting increased understanding of Jewish values, while 80% of local partners report increasing their capacity through the volunteers. Repair achieved this level of growth and impact not only by measuring and assessing results at the end of each year, but, more importantly, by aggressively targeting and testing the future potential of the Communities program. By 2022 Repair now aims to engage 180,000 unique volunteers – while growing the power of the program on both volunteers and partners. This is measurable impact.”
Can you see why I’m excited? In Repair, we’ve found a perfect partner to make meaningful and impactful community service available to more young adults.
No matter where you live in Jewish Atlanta, no matter how Jewishly connected (or unconnected) you feel, I deeply believe that community service is a crucial doorway to Jewish meaning. I hope you will consider engaging with Repair the World in the coming year. Ana, Sasha and I wish you all a chag kasher v’sameach – a Passover that is celebrated with intention, meaning, and joy.