AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps

WISH LIST: $100: refreshed furnishings for 1 room in AVODAH's communal homes; $500: incoming corps member orientation; $1800: 8 poverty and social change workshops, including guest speakers

Translated from the Hebrew, “avodah” means “work” or “service” – or even “life’s work.” As AVODAH corps members, 24 post-college young adults each year may well discover their life’s work. During a year of service they invest 40 hours per week at local antipoverty organizations and participate in intensive educational programs, from trainings in activist skills to workshops on urban poverty. Here in the District, a stunning one-fifth of residents live in poverty, so AVODAH is ideally poised to make a difference by building the staffing capacity of nonprofits that work with those who are most in need. These organizations significantly expand their reach, while AVODAH corps members find the inspiration to work for social justice throughout their lives. In 2012, DC corps members added more than $470,000 in staffing capacity to local organizations, making a positive impact on more than 28,000 people in need. Recently, 95% of corps members (past and present) affirmed that AVODAH strengthened their commitment to social justice. There is, indeed, promise for the future.