Organization: Moving Traditions, Jenkintown, PA
Grant Year: 2002
Project Director: Ms. Deborah S. Meyer
Type of Grant: Signature
Grant Amount: $150,000 (3 years)
In 2002 Kolot requested a $225,000 three-year grant to fund the launch of the Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! program. The grant sought to establish more Rosh Hodesh groups for girls by creating partnerships with local community organizations, print and distribute Kolot’s Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! Sourcebook for Leaders, hold training sessions for group leaders, as well as provide on-going consultation to them, launch a public relations campaign, and evaluate the effectiveness of the program for girls, group leaders, and local community partners. The grant was funded, and over the course of the next three years the program grew in leaps and bounds. All of the goals in the grant application were met and exceeded, and several additional goals were added, including strategically targeting Jewish communities for the program, involving parents, revising the Sourcebook, and augmenting it with a CD of music, creating a third year of programming, and a pre-bat mitzvah year program for younger girls.
During the course of the grant cycle Kolot’s Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! more than tripled the number of groups, from 40 in 2002 to 137 in 2005. Girls of from all denominational backgrounds, and unaffiliated girls were participating, and groups were reporting strong retention rates. Over 4,300 Jewish girls in grades 6-12 participated in the groups, with over 300 trained group leaders.
Kolot was a part of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and in 2005 Moving Traditions was created as a new entity that would run Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing!
The growth that was kickstarted with this Covenant grant continued even after the grant cycle ended. Today, 13 years after the grant application was submitted, Moving Traditions has over 430 Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! and Shevet Achim: The Brotherhood (a boys program) groups meeting. More than15,000 teens have taken part in these groups, and a recent independent evaluation of the Rosh Hodesh program shows the program is effective in empowering stronger, more confident and connected Jewish girls. The building blocks of the Rosh Hodesh model are a trained adult mentor, a supportive peer group of about 10 girls from the same grade, the safety to openly explore fundamental questions of identity and society, and most important of all, relevant, adolescent-girl-focused content connected to enduring Jewish values and wisdom.