array(1) { [0]=> int(22) }

Archive for : atlanta

The Masters in Development Practice within the James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies at Emory University Launches New Partnership with Repair the World to Support Repair the World Fellows and Alumni

For Immediate Release
May 3, 2021

Contact: Zack Block, Senior Director of Communities, Repair the World,  [email protected] & Chan Williams, Academic and Student Affairs Coordinator, Master’s in Development Practice, [email protected]   

The Masters in Development Practice within the James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies at Emory University Launches New Partnership with Repair the World to Support Repair the World Fellows and Alumni

Atlanta, GA — Repair the World, a National Jewish social justice service organization, and Emory University today announced a strategic partnership to support current fellows and alumni of Repair the World Communities fellowship who are accepted and enrolled full time to the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) at The James T. Laney School of Graduate studies.

“This partnership between Repair the World and the MDP program is a match made in heaven!  We share the same vision of forming talented young people to be effective change-makers in the world. Given their community engagement experience and commitment to social justice, fellows are an ideal fit for the MDP program and will thrive at Emory University. They will gain a diverse set of skills and insights that will enable them to move on to impactful and rewarding careers in the development and humanitarian field“ said Dr. Carla Roncoli, Director of the Emory MDP program.

The two year-long fellowship program connects Jewish young adults with local opportunities to make a meaningful difference in their community. Atlanta is one of six cities where the program currently operates. As a result of this partnership, Repair fellows and alumni will receive:

  • Waived application fee for MDP applicants
  • At least one Strategic Partner scholarship equal to at least 30% of tuition per academic year
  • Consideration for additional merit-based tuition scholarships that may be offered during the admission cycle. 

“We are excited about the opportunities this partnership provides for our fellows and alumni. Because of this partnership Repair the World fellows and fellow alumni will have access to a stellar and rigorous program that will strengthen their field based knowledge and practice of sustainable development that will prepare them for a continued commitment to serving and uplifting their community in a dynamic and meaningful way,” said Cindy Greenberg, CEO of Repair the World.

Emory’s MDP program is a two year course of study and practice that builds on an organic fusion of core scientific disciplines, programmatic skills, and experiential learning through globally- and locally-focused internships and field practicums. The program capitalizes on its partnership with a vast network of  leading development and humanitarian institutions and community-based organizations. These partners’ global reach will provide students with invaluable exposure to the way development practitioners operate in the real world and with a perspective on the different institutional contexts in which they will serve after completion of their degrees.

The James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies at Emory University is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in advancing academic excellence through innovative scholarship, research, teaching, and programming that prepares a diverse and inclusive student body for success as leaders and in service to the global good. 

Repair the World mobilizes Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, igniting a lifelong commitment to service. We believe service in support of social change is vital to a flourishing Jewish community and an inspired Jewish life. By 2030, Repair will inspire and catalyze one million acts of service towards repairing the world.

More information about Repair the World’s university partnerships can be found by visiting https://werepair.org/universitypartnerships/. If you’re looking to volunteer virtually, please check out our opportunities on our website – https://werepair.org/volunteer

More information about the Master’s in Development Practice can be found by visiting: https://www.emory.edu/mdp  You may also visit the James T. Laney Graduate School website: https://www.gs.emory.edu 

###

 

MLK Day: Local Organizations Honor Dr. King Through Community Service

This video originally appeared on CW69 News at 10 on January 19th, 2021.

Several organizations held virtual events for the holiday, and others were out in the community. Open Hand Atlanta partnered with the Repair the World to deliver meals. Open Hand Atlanta is currently looking for drivers ages 21 and up to deliver meals Monday through Friday. DeKalb County held a short tribute and food distribution. The work continues for these organizations that serve communities every day. “We still have hungry children, we still have a horrible minimum wage,” Omilami said. They’re urging more people to volunteer and keep Dr. King’s legacy alive.

Watch Here

Virtual service opportunity: How you can stay safe this MLK Weekend

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on January 12th, 2021.

“Despite our fears and uncertainty, we must continue to care for each other — especially as racism, inequity, poverty, and needless suffering persist,” Repair the World Atlanta‘s executive director Lily Brent said in a statement. “Repair is committed to our work in education and meaningful service together with our partners — and hope the community will join us to make sense of this moment in service and in learning.” 

Read More

 

Even With New Relief Package, Georgia Could See Higher Levels Of Hunger For Years

This article originally appeared in WABE on December 23, 2020.

A recurring scene this year around the country has been lines. Cars snake through parking lots turned into COVID-19 testing sites. Shoppers wait outside stores with limited capacity. Families line up for help getting food on the table. Earlier this month, there was one of those lines at a shopping center on Buford Highway. “There’s always a line,” said Marco Palma, president of the non-profit organization Los Vecinos de Buford Highway. It’s one of the groups behind the food distribution event. “If we say we’re starting at 10, people start lining up at like 8:30 or 9.”

Read More

Think Globally and Act Locally. March is in Session!

Did you know Georgia’s legislative session lasts only 40 days? Our 56 senators and 180 representatives have from the second Monday of January late March to propose, debate, and vote on laws that deeply impact our lives. On February 6–in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council, American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League–Jeff Willard of Tzedek Georgia gave a training on making your voice heard as bills become laws.

Making Your Voice Heard in seven steps from Tzedek Georgia.

  1. Start on a positive note. Research your legislator. Find something you can thank them for, or at least connect with them on. 
  2. Frame your issue based on their values. Just like you, your representative has a system of values that is fully formed and unlikely to change. How can you frame your issue so that it appeals to what is important to them?
  3. Share the facts. This might start with making your legislator aware of the bill you want them to vote on or even handing them a copy of the bill. Tell them what you know about the issue.
  4. Share a personal story. Why do you care? How does this affect you or someone you know?
  5. Bring up the unintended consequences. What negative consequences might occur if the vote goes the wrong way? This does not mean threatening your legislator with supporting their opponent, etc. Stick to the issue. How will people be impacted?
  6. Ask how they plan to vote. If they are unsure or not voting your way, ask what other information you can provide. 

  7. Follow up. Advocating for what you care about takes a lot of energy, but a single visit isn’t enough. Follow up with additional information, call, email, write a note, and come back again, with friends!

 

 

A Successful Tutoring Model

This originally appeared in the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta. 

“As a Repair Fellow, I connect the Jewish community to volunteer opportunities. An example of my own meaningful volunteer service comes from tutoring with Mind Bubble, which offers free tutoring and workshops for students across the Atlanta area.”

Read More

A Fellow’s Reflections from Pittsburgh–One Year Later

By Abigail Natelson
Repair the World Atlanta Fellow 2019-20

This October, some things feel the same, and some different.  Many of us observe Yom Kippur as we have done since childhood.  Many of us honor the change of seasons and the harvest from within temporary outdoor dwellings or Sukkot.  This October, Repair the World reaches a milestone as a national organization and will celebrate 10 years of focusing our Jewish community on best practices in volunteer service.  Amidst all of these occasions, one stands out as painfully unlike the others: the first anniversary of the White Nationalist terror attack on Tree of Life Synagogue. One of our Atlanta Repair Fellows, Abigail Natelson, grew up in Pittsburgh and shares her recollection of the event with us below:

Almost a year ago, I penciled a note into my calendar under Saturday, October 27th: “Halloween party with friends, dressing up as characters from Shrek, Pitt plays Duke.” Pittsburgh was ready for this regular weekend of rest, fun, and for many, Shabbat.

On the morning of the 27th, I woke up before my alarm to a calm fall day, with time to relax and appreciate the quiet morning. After a few deep breaths, I was jolted from my state of serenity by the blaring sound of what I learned later to be nearly every vehicle in Pittsburgh’s emergency fleet racing down the boulevard perpendicular to my street. Not too unusual for the city, but it seems off. Minutes later, I received an alert from the University: “Shots fired at the Tree of Life Synagogue on Wilkins Ave. Police operations are ongoing. Avoid the Squirrel Hill/Shadyside area.” Tree of Life Or L’Simcha? Where we celebrated my camper’s Bat Mitzvah last weekend? Is there more than one Tree of Life in Pittsburgh? I knew there was not. 

Then the notifications on my phone arrived, and for weeks they did not relent. The phrase “active shooter” appeared. Is this not everyone’s worst nightmare? Along with the slew of Groupme and Facebook messages was a text from my mom in the suburbs of Pittsburgh: “Rabbi ended services early. Headed home.” Call mom. When she picked up, I asked why someone would shoot at the synagogue, and it was her who convinced me that he had entered the sacred space with a weapon and was targeting actual human beings. “6 people are dead.” Dead. I hadn’t seen this word yet. Right down the street. Our community is being killed. Before I had even understood the situation, people were already dead. I was crying as I felt my community collapse. 

For hours, I sat with friends and roommates, refreshing the news stories over and over. The next few days were an indistinguishable fog of vigils, abundant communal support, and realizations about the danger all targeted minorities face in the US.  Today, our fear of the possibility of weapons harming our community and our neighbors has not subsided. Given that, I wish to amplify an article by Ilana Kaufman that initiates a discussion on how to keep synagogues safe for our multi-racial Jewish community, acknowledging the challenges of traditional security measures.  Continuing this dialogue is critical. 

As the weekend of October 27th approaches, it brings both the season of Halloween costumes and a time of heightened anxiety for the Jewish community. I am hopeful that, amidst the haunting and traumatizing memory of that Shabbat, the Jewish community, especially my insurmountable Tree of Life and Pittsburgh family, will experience some measure of peace and joy from the community’s outpouring of radical love and support.

40 Under 40: Lily Brent

This article originally appeared in The Atlanta Jewish Times on July 17, 2019.

A graduate of Oberlin College, Lily Brent began her career advocating for changes in criminal justice policy and practice with the nonprofit Family Justice. In 2010, she joined the JDC’s Jewish Service Corps and spent a year volunteering at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda.

Read More

What was learned here will leave here: Reflections on My Site Development Fellowship

By Rachel Bukowitz
Repair the World Atlanta Site Development Fellow 2018-19, Pittsburgh Fellow 2017-18

After spending August 2017 through July 2018 as a Food Justice Fellow with Repair the World (Repair) in Pittsburgh, where I served on a team with five other Fellows and consistently volunteered with three nonprofit service partners, I packed up my car and drove down to Atlanta to embark on my second year with Repair, this time as a Site Development Fellow. Over the last 12 months, I was the only Fellow in Atlanta, and had a different mandate with regularly scheduled volunteering. My year was devoted to working with Lily Brent, Director of Atlanta Repair, to launch Repair’s eighth “community”– a local site for Repair’s mission to make volunteer service a defining part of a American Jewish life. 

As I reflect on when I first moved to Atlanta to start this new endeavor, I recognize that my site development experience with Repair far surpassed my initial expectations. From cooking alongside local chefs at shelters in Atlanta to serving meals for people experiencing homelessness, to meeting with donors and securing funding from grocery stores for meal preparation, from going into a prison to sign up incarcerated men for birth certificates, to talking to my state senator at the Capitol about ending cash bail, the spectrum of my experiences fundamentally transformed me. This year provided me with the opportunity to hear stories and learn from people directly impacted by inequities across education systems, housing affordability, food access and criminal justice. Furthermore, it made me think critically about how to use my privilege to support excellent social justice work and be an advocate for change. From all of the diverse roles and responsibilities I had this past year, I have come away with three key learnings that I outlined below:

  1. Say “yes” to new opportunities. Committing to being the Site Development Fellow for Atlanta was a big “yes” moment for me in and of itself. I moved to a new state, to a city I had never been to before and knew no one in, and started a new job with a new boss whom I had never met in person. But accepting the role was just the beginning of the “yes-ing”. Once in Atlanta, one of my main goals was to build Repair’s brand and “get our name out there” by taking advantage of every opportunity to tell people what Repair is, what we do, and how they could get involved in our work. I criss-crossed the city attending 80 community-based events, volunteering with 32 nonprofits, tabling at events, co-sponsoring film screenings, speaking on panels, running workshops, hosting volunteer days, you name it! During this 2018-9 program year, Lily and I ran 42 programs! I dove into my new city attending public events that sounded interesting to me and volunteering for organizations working on causes I care about – which guaranteed that I would be far too busy to be bored or lonely, feelings that can come easy moving somewhere new. Each and every volunteer program and community event that I went to pushed me to embrace new experiences and led to me meet fascinating people, which leads into my next learning…
  2. You can learn something from everyone. Although we spent a lot of time and effort facilitating large-scale events, building our network also meant sticking true to Repair’s core model of meeting people one-on-one in the community. One standout meeting for me was with someone who was at that time a stranger, but is now my good friend, Gabe. As a newbie in Atlanta, Gabe provided me with incredible insight into Atlanta’s Jewish community and the city at large. He introduced me to the city’s food forest, an incredible urban agriculture space that I have since repeatedly volunteered at and brought over 40 Repair volunteers to on various occasions. Gabe also introduced me to a network of other values-driven young adults in the city that I am now lucky enough to have as friends. For all that Gabe shared with me, I too shared with him about Repair’s great work across the country and what we were up to Atlanta. A month after Gabe and I met, Lily and I co-hosted our first Repair event with Historic Westside Gardens. Gabe came to the event (and brought friends!) to volunteer. In the months that followed, Gabe continued to stay involved by hosting one of our MLK Shabbat Suppers and volunteering at our bi-weekly gardening group. Excitingly, in the coming year Gabe will be continuing his journey with Repair as a Fellow in Miami! Although not everyone I met with will end up becoming Repair Fellows, I can say that everyone I met with learned about Repair, and I in turn learned more than I could possibly list here from each and every person I met. I want to thank all of the community activists, local leaders and dedicated volunteers that I got to know this year– meeting this community was without a doubt the best part of my year.
  3. Express gratitude. Being a Site Development Fellow was a lot of hard work, and although there were days when my to-do list felt out of control, my efforts were always acknowledged and appreciated. In fact, I received an abundance of thank you’s (in person, over email, by text, and even hand written notes), and in return, I want to send my sincerest thanks to all of my colleagues at Repair the World. I feel incredibly lucky to have worked with such a supportive group of people that celebrate each other’s accomplishments and promote skill-building, divergent thinking, professional development, and empathetic and equitable approaches to work. I can’t thank you all enough for everything I have learned; for teaching me how to launch a social media brand and training me on inclusive marketing, thank you. For showing me how to manage a database and run reports to track metrics towards our goals, thank you. For taking me to the edge of my productive discomfort by creating space for learning about racial justice, pluralism, and intersectionality, thank you. For providing a platform for me to express my own Jewish identity through service and solidarity, thank you. And for inspiring me each day as awesome mentors and femtors (looking at you, Lily and Kate!), thank you, thank you, thank you. All that I have learned here I will take with me to graduate school and beyond, as I do my part in repairing the world. 

 

Takeaways from the National Memorial for Peace and Justice

A version of this article appeared in the Atlanta Jewish Times.

By Lily Brent, Director, Repair the World Atlanta

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama has a steel pillar for each county in the United States where a lynching took place. When I visited with my fellow Repair the World City Directors last month, I thought it would be easy to find the monument for Fulton County because I knew it would be crowded with the names of the 35 documented victims of racial terror lynchings in the community where I make my home. I scanned the oxidized columns one after another after another. There are more than 800. Many of them crowded with names like Lillie (mine) and Daniel (my father’s) and Adam (my brother’s) and Squire, Julia, Evan, Robert, George, Thomas, Lit, Cairo, and Lincoln. The Fulton County pillar was lost to me in a killing forest.

With the help of staff, I found our Fulton County history suspended from the ceiling, hanging heavy and ominous over my head.

The Memorial is at once a place of deep dignity and honor for Black Americans who were denied due process, terrorized, tortured, murdered, and who have gone largely unacknowledged for a hundred years or more. Or far less. It is also a place of shame. That shame is too complex to unpack fully here, but I will share a piece of mine with you in good faith.

As a Jew who worked with genocide survivors in Rwanda, I consider myself someone well-steeped in “man’s inhumanity to man.” Here in the United States, I have worked in prisons and public schools and I know we are far from freedom and justice for all.

I lived and worked in Rwanda during the final year of gacaca, the country’s truth and reconciliation process after a genocide in which over 800,000 human beings were murdered in 90 days. Looking out at the country’s stunning vistas of green hills as far as the eye can see, I marveled at how such a beautiful landscape could be so blood-soaked: that gentle ribbon of river was choked with bodies, red like a plague in April 1994. I questioned how neighbors could continue to live alongside each other when members of one family had macheted members of the other. That kind of tolerance seemed inconceivable.

What I failed to realize–and now I cannot believe the colossal nature of my ignorance and naivete, my blinding white privilege–is that we in the United States are living our own unresolved legacy of violence. Just as I walked through the Eastern Province of Rwanda and had someone point out the house of the man who killed his father, I walked through Selma with activist Joanne Bland, who pointed out the business establishment of the man thought to have murdered Reverend James Reeb. Here neighbors are also living alongside descendants of those who lynched their family members. Yet we’ve never sat together in the fields, community by community, and told our stories.

Many of us have made or will make pilgrimages to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)’s Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice. Many of us will be moved by re-encountering our American history from a lens of racial terror, and facing the founding “myth of racial difference” that has justified everything from slavery, to convict leasing, to casting black children as “super-predators.” In Rwanda, moving forward after atrocities called for a reckoning with the crimes committed, not through retribution, but through truth-telling. This is the movement EJI is creating. As Jews, what is our place in this movement?

At Repair the World, our mission is to make meaningful volunteer service a defining part of American Jewish life. As volunteers, we’re often meeting and serving people with whom we don’t share lived experiences. For white, affluent volunteers, this might mean entering an unfamiliar neighborhood, one that doesn’t have a grocery store with fresh produce, or a subway station, and where 40% of residents don’t own cars. We might listen to people striving to break out of poverty and running up against barriers like a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour ($1,160 per month) in a city where the average two-bedroom apartment costs $1,000 per month. We might hear a new perspective in conversation with Black Atlantans. Without understanding our shared history, we are in danger of accepting the poverty and inequity we encounter while volunteering as incidental and accidental and not part of a larger system of inequality rooted in persistent and pernicious white supremacy.

Volunteering, when done right, allows us to stand shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors. It opens an opportunity to hear the urgent needs in our community, and to strive to meet them. There is something deeply satisfying about knowing that someone will not go hungry tonight because of us. Yet Jewish scholarship teaches us to question. And as we do the important work of meeting urgent needs, I believe we are also obligated to ask ourselves “why?” Why is this work of feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, tutoring children in inadequate schools still necessary in the wealthiest country in the world? Every individual has a story filled with choices, but as Bryan Stevenson of EJI, famously writes, “Each of us is more than the worst thing we have ever done.” When we see patterns of disenfranchisement and disinvestment persist along racial lines, we have to ask ourselves why.

While Atlanta is a city with a proud legacy of Black leadership and innovation across fields, the patterns of inequity are also clear. Atlanta is tied for the city with the greatest income inequality in the nation and also “has the widest racial achievement gap of any urban school district except Washington, D.C”.  Georgia has the most people under correctional control (prison, jail, probation and parole) of any state in the U.S. and a vastly disproportionate number of people incarcerated in our state are African American. EJI is calling us to the realization that racial disparities in health, wealth, education, and incarceration stem from our unresolved history of slavery, racial terror, and systematic discrimination.

Our heroes of the Civil Rights movement made monumental progress toward the realization of all America promises. And yet the struggle is not over. In my job as Director of Repair the World Atlanta, people often share their desire to make our community more just, but lament, “What can I do?” Racism and inequity are entrenched problems on scale where it can feel hard to make an impact. At Repair, we take small and consistent steps to care for each other. We also urge you to ask the big questions. Here are a few actions you can take this month to gain a greater understanding of our shared history and the perspectives of people whose lived experience of inequity is different from your own.

 

 

Stay tuned for more opportunities for education and action and share your own ideas for applying the lessons of The Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice to our daily lives.