RAC Teen Justice Fellowship

Our RAC teen justice 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 2024, we will focus on learning about mental health and how it is connected to every other social justice issue. The fellowship is the perfect next step after L'Taken or a summer at camp (though they're not necessary prerequisites). Let us know if you are interested below, and we will be in touch with more information when applications open in August.

tell us you're interestednominate a teen


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.

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 gain valuable leadership experience for your college application or resume while learning how to make change in your community.

 

WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?

  • Explore your passions and learn to make a positive impact.
  • Acquire leadership skills, focusing on ending mental health stigma.
  • Earn community service hours.
  • Have a great story to tell on college applications.
  • Flexible schedule: six one-hour evening sessions in the spring followed by a project at your own pace over summer and fall. 

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-December 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.

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. 

If you need further financial assistance, please contact Shoshana Maniscalco.

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?

Let us know you’re interested and you'll be the first to know when applications open for the Fall cohort! Questions? Email Shoshana Maniscalco, Teen Justice Fellowship Organizer.

tell us you're interestednominate a teen

LEARN WHAT PAST FELLOWS HAVE ACCOMPLISHED

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How Judaism Inspires My Mental Health Advocacy

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.

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Mental Health Access is a Racial Justice Issue

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. 

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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.

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Turning Tragedy into Action: My Fight for Mental Health Reform

Two years ago, when I was fifteen, four of my friends attempted suicide. They were of various socioeconomic statuses, genders, and sexualities, from different schools, and family structures. Yet, they all felt their only option was to take their own lives.