Mitzvah Corps is committed to building diverse, vibrant communities. We value honest and open communication before, during, and after each program, and look forward to partnering with families to ensure that our programs are the right fit for potential participants. From our policies and logistics to our programs and norms, we strive to reflect our core Jewish values:
|Kehillah Kedosha.||V’ahavta L’reyecha.||Yichut Atzmo.||Hachnasat Orchim.|
|We are a sacred community, responsible for one another.||We welcome authenticity, and honor the diversity among us.||We take risks in new yet safe environments, nurturing personal growth.||We practice audacious hospitality, where all who enter are celebrated.|
Mitzvah Corps is dedicated to creating environments for all participants that will be open, understanding, and accepting, and where bias and prejudice will not be tolerated. Participants can expect to work, live, and learn alongside peers with a variety of gender identities, sexual orientations, Jewish movement affiliations, physical or non-physical disabilities, communication styles, and backgrounds, among other factors that contribute to each teen’s unique character.
By attending a Mitzvah Corps program, families are signifying a commitment to be welcoming and celebratory of the diversity among the community we are creating, and the global communities we are proud to be a part of.
Participants may choose their Mitzvah Corps program based on any number of factors, and in the areas below, programs offer varying levels of accessibility to different teens. Our team gladly welcomes questions from anybody interested in joining our community, and will be happy to work with families to identify the program that is best suited to their teen.
Balancing Communal & Private Spaces
A large component of the Mitzvah Corps experience is immersive, communal living. Participants share living quarters with their Mitzvah Corps peers and staff, eat meals and engage in meaningful work alongside local community members, and delve into intense, emotional topics that must be approached with sensitivity, authenticity, and trust.
Participants will be sharing rooms with 2-4 other teens of the same self-identifying gender; the room layout and number of beds varies on each program. Bedrooms are to be used by the teens who sleep in that space only; there are common spaces available for group gatherings.
The typical bathroom structure differs at each site, often with the majority of options being communal (separated by self-identified gender). However, we are committed to ensuring that this environment, which can be stressful for teens for any number of reasons, remains safe, and every Mitzvah Corps program also ensures the opportunity to use the bathroom in private.
We also acknowledge that individuals need varying amounts of time alone to decompress, and while those moments are harder to come by on a Mitzvah Corps trip than at home, our staff are committed to working with each participant to ensure those needs are met in a safe and appropriate way.
The physical accessibility of each program is dictated both by the type of direct service and the infrastructure of the communities within which the groups visit and live. The FAQ section on each individual program page gives an overview of that site’s specific physical requirements.
Our programs are designed to be small enough to immerse into local communities, and our staff need to be able to offer appropriate supervision to the entire group at all times, as well as be available to offer personalized support in case of illness or injury. On all Mitzvah Corps programs, participants must be able to handle being outdoors in their program’s climate, and are expected to be independent and not require consistent one-on-one care.