Our RAC teen fellowship programs are learning intensives in community organizing, designed to equip our youth leaders with the skills to create change in their home communities. Through our fellowships, high schoolers connect with other social justice leaders from across the country and learn lifelong skills applicable to any issue they are passionate about. Our fellowships value experiential learning, moving beyond theory and Zoom training into action. Each fellowship culminates in teens designing and implementing a project in their home communities.
Our fellows are the leaders of our movement's social justice work today. They don't have to wait until they can vote, or until they are "grown-up" to make a difference - they can take action now. Our youth leaders finish the fellowships empowered and prepared to lead their peers in justice work. They also have an incredible story to tell on college applications about their leadership.
In Fall 2023, we will focus on learning community organizing through a gun violence prevention lens. The fellowship is the perfect next step after L'Taken or a summer at camp (though they're not necessary prerequisites).
WHAT IS THE RAC TEEN JUSTICE FELLOWSHIP?
The fellowship is a learning-intensive designed to train high schoolers to be organizers in their home communities. Fellows will meet virtually for an hour once a week for six weeks to hone their leadership skills, learn about advocacy, and be involved in the RAC's work.
So much in our lives has been virtual in the last three years, including experiences that just don't have the same impact as they would in person. Our fellowships are designed to be online and have been since before the pandemic. This isn't your math class - it's connecting with other high schoolers from across the country that are just as passionate about making their voices heard as you are, and like a college class, you are responsible for your learning and getting the most out of our time together.
As a fellow, you'll learn community organizing skills, how to address gun violence, and complete a project in your home community. You get to learn, decide how you want to make an impact and be the leader that makes it happen. You also will have an incredible story to tell on college applications about your leadership.
WHO SHOULD APPLY TO BE A FELLOW?
We are looking for talented, enthusiastic teens who are interested in learning more about how advocacy, politics, gun violence prevention, and Judaism relate to each other and all other aspects of social justice, as well as gaining the skills needed to be changemakers. Teens who are ready to grow, learn, and take on a little bit of leadership make excellent fellows.
WHAT WILL WE DO IN THE FELLOWSHIP?
We will explore what you are passionate about when it comes to social justice, learn how to build a strategy for making change and mobilizing our communities, and engage in advocacy with the RAC.
WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT?
The fellowship will meet in the evenings in October-November for six one-hour sessions. There will be small tasks that fellows will be expected to complete between sessions (30-60 mins max) and a final project on a timeline picked by each fellow individually for your community.
Fellows design and implement their own project (within a few parameters) with support from a fellowship coach, a college student or a young adult with experience volunteering and working for the RAC and on campaigns.
Our Fall 2023 Fellows have the option of meeting on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. If you miss your "usual" session you can join for a different session that week.
- Tuesdays: 7 pm ET / 6 pm CT / 5 pm MT / 4 pm PT OR 9 pm ET / 8 pm CT / 7 pm MT / 6 pm PT (October 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, November 7)
- Wednesdays: 7 pm ET / 6 pm CT / 5 pm MT / 4 pm PT (October 4, 11, 18, 25, November 1, 8)
There is also an option for Fellows to attend The Collab, a teen-powered, community-driven retreat, November 10-13, 2023. Attending The Collab is entirely optional, but it is a great opportunity for Fellows to come together in person with other teens from across the movement to build lasting relationships and make our movement stronger. It is the only time we will gather in person for the Fellowship, and there will be one session exclusively for Fellowship Alumni. The cost of this four-day retreat is $525, which includes housing, meals, and activities on camp. You can head to The Collab website for more information on what the program costs include, travel parameters, and how to request financial assistance.
HOW MUCH DOES THE FELLOWSHIP COST?
The program fee includes:
- Six weeks of live learning sessions with our staff organizers
- 1x1 time with a coach – a college student or young professional mentor matched to each fellow to guide them through crafting and implementing their project
- A stellar story and example of an independent social change project you can write about on your college essays
- A cohort of other Jewish teens interested in social justice and expanding their leadership through community organizing
The total cost to run the program is $1,000 per person. Thanks to grant funding, we are able to offer it at a significantly reduced base price of $250. To ensure that the fellowship is accessible to all who wish to apply, we request that all families with the means to do so contribute at the high end of (or beyond) the suggested price.
We are committed to making the program accessible to all regardless of ability to pay, and we will work with Fellows and their families privately to ensure cost is not a barrier to participation. If you would like to speak privately about program pricing for your family, please reach out to Shoshana Maniscalco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHY DOES THE APPLICATION ASK ABOUT MY RACIAL IDENTITY?
When we do social justice work, it's important to explore our own identities and how they work to give us privileges or serve as sources of oppression. Jews of Color experience the world differently than white Jews. Affinity spaces based on race provide an opportunity for white people to process and discuss racism, ask questions, and have conversations without causing unintentional harm to People of Color. They offer People of Color a safe space to have honest and open conversations about their lived experiences, without having to comfort or teach white people in that moment. If you are a Fellow of Color (see our application for a more detailed explanation of what we mean), you have the choice to opt into being mentored by a Fellowship Coach of Color.
ARE YOU A CONGREGATIONAL PROFESSIONAL WITH A GROUP OF TEENS INTERESTED IN LEADERSHIP AND OR JUSTICE WORK?
Are you looking for an opportunity where your teens can create experiences for their peers in your congregation? This year we are offering congregational cohorts for a group of teens from the same congregation the chance to participate in the fellowship and their projects together. If this is something that you would like to discuss further for your congregation, please reach out to Shoshana Maniscalco, Teen Justice Fellowship Organizer.
READY TO APPLY FOR THE RAC TEEN JUSTICE FELLOWSHIP?
LEARN WHAT PAST FELLOWS HAVE ACCOMPLISHED
I need your help to ensure that every student can access mental health care, no matter where they live. Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Mental Health Services for Students Act, which would provide $200 million in grant funding per year for five years to expand mental health services in public schools. Now, the Senate must act.
My experience with the RAC Teen Racial Justice Fellowship was so amazing. I learned so many skills that were applicable to several different aspects of my life.
Sarah Dowling and Justin Meszler may not be old enough to vote, but they’re making an impact in the upcoming Georgia Senate runoff election.