|Map of where the 2011 REALITY Israel participants live.|
This summer, for the third year running, Team Schusterman will join forces with the Samberg Family Foundation to bring Teach For America corps members on a 10-day trip to Israel to tour, explore, learn first-hand about the Israeli educational system and take a deeper look at the values that drive their professional aspirations and volunteerism.
Out of a record-high 415 applications, 58 corps members were selected for the 2011 REALITY Israel Experience for Teach For America Corps Members, which is scheduled for July 12-24, 2011. Participants hail from 25 of Teach For America’s 39 regions, including the Baltimore, Bay Area, Chicago, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Detroit, Eastern North Carolina, Greater Boston, Greater New Orleans, Greater Philadelphia Camden, Hawaii, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Mid-Atlantic, Mississippi Delta, New York, Rio Grande Valley, South Dakota, South Louisiana, St. Louis and Tulsa.
The REALITY program, which is open to all corps members, is a natural extension of our Foundation’s deep partnership with Teach For America, which has taken root in Oklahoma, across the U.S., in Israel and with Teach For All around the world. As in years past, the quantity, quality and caliber of the applications far exceeded our expectations, and we are excited to be able to take such a phenomenal group of corps members to Israel for this unique leadership experience.
Our hope, as Lynn intimated at the recent Shabbat dinner we hosted on the occasion of Teach For America’s 20th Anniversary Summit, is to inspire corps members to embark on meaningful engagement with their personal journeys and with Israel, as well as cultivate long-term dedication toward Jewish community involvement and service.
An impact study of the 85 corps members who went on the 2009 and 2010 trips found that the program appears to do just that. Specifically, it has:
- Strengthened participants’ commitment to social justice;
- Strengthened the link between members’ Jewish identity and their passion for service;
- Strengthened participants’ commitment to Teach For America’s mission; and
- Strengthened participants’ leadership skills and effectiveness in the classroom.
Ultimately, REALITY is helping to create an incredibly powerful, explicit connection between the values corps members hold—namely, social action—and Jewish values, thus deepening the importance of both in their lives. The program also offers a model for how to engage young people in service as a way to lead richer, more meaningful lives. (For more, check out the REALITY Israel Webinar with Repair the World.)
Check back in July for updates from the group while they’re in Israel.