DOROT Jewish Summer Teen Internship Program
Intergenerational social connection
New York City
Multiple national and regional funders, including Jewish Federations, foundations, and private donors
Jewish teens who are rising high school sophomores, juniors, or seniors
Jewish Knowledge/Engagement Level of Participants
Participants come from a wide range of Jewish backgrounds, from teens who have attended day school all their lives to 20%–40% of participants who have never had a bar or bat mitzvah. “The diversity adds to the pedagogy.”
The overall goal of DOROT is to relieve the social isolation and loneliness of older adults to help them to live lives that are both independent and socially embedded. The summer teen internship works toward that overarching goal at the same time as it aims to empower teens to connect positive feelings to being Jewish while developing meaningful connections with older adults.
This four-week, unpaid internship runs approximately six hours/day, four days/week for approximately four weeks and takes place at a community setting for older adults. Teens join older adults in their daily programs. In addition, interns lead and plan weekly intergenerational workshops that range from discussion groups that explore Jewish identity or other Jewish issues, Legacy projects, tech coaching, and playful activities. Some of these activities also operate virtually. For sites that have home-based programs, teens are paired and matched for a weekly visit to connect and build friendship with an older adult. At the start and end of each week, the teen cohort has service-learning and reflection sessions which are framed through a Jewish lens. Lastly, the program, which is both free and unpaid, includes an expectation of volunteering for a minimum of 15 hours with DOROT during the following academic year.