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August 25, 2009

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August 25, 2009

i am in the current class, CLASS 15 AND i can honestly Operation Understanding DC was one of the best and still is the best experience i have had in my life. From meeting actual Civil rights workers and leaders to hearing inspirational speakers like Joanne Bland who recalled her gut-wrenching story of Bloody sunday and her triumph i have never been so much humbled. Oudc also gave me a chance to explore the fascinating history of the jewish culture and what they have experienced. i can honestly say that addiition will greatly help my life in the future. Not only learning about another culture was great but learning about my own culture as an African American was really moving. All my life I have been proud to be black but i didn't know why since the media portrays black in a negative way, but after this program and going to the deep south and listening to people like Rev billy Kyles and J charles jones I now know what it means to black and I am proud of how far the African american community has come. moreover it gave me a sense of pride in myself. Never will you meet a man who in one year who went from a indifferent person on social justice issues like racism and anti-semitism to now where I am motivated to eradicate these issues and make a difference in my community so everybody can have equal opportunity. I must leave you with one last thing. that is that you can never replace going to historic sites like kelly ingram park and Edmund pettus bridge with hearing about it on books or on tv. Seeing the actual sites where these fateful events happened was one of the most moving and sensitive experiences i will ever have. i stepped on the same ground where thousands of people put there lives on the line. There is so much more i would like to write but I could go on for days about this program seriously.

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In that I am more open to talk to people about issues plaguing our society like racism, sexism and discirmination. Also I have seen reuslts in that i can talk about these issues with my friends and we will have a nice dialogue.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would make the retreats longer and the journey a little longer but thats about it.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Is the people I met all throughout the program and the members of my class. I don't think I will ever meet such a creative and unique group of people who are all striving to achieve similiar goals. The group leaders were also so amazing. they did so much.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

solve so many issues in america and the world like racism Anti-semitism and discrimination and so forth because of their expanding out to different states. It could really help change so many states in the way they think and interact with people.

Ways to make it better...

If the journey was a little longer and the retreats were 3 days long and the speakers were more interactive but thats only if I would have to nitpick. I can honestly say this program has rarely any flaws if you look at it as a whole.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the sense of awareness of this program. it needs to get more attention. there are plenty of people who want to do programs like this but they just don't know about them. OUDC needs to get more exposure and they need more funding.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 21, 2009

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August 21, 2009

"Understanding" is the operative word in this Organization. I can't say enough about OUDC, it is a fantastic organization that has changed lives and is shaping future leaders who will have a massive impact on our world. My daughter was a member of Class 12 and continues the mission of OUDC by leading a diversity education club at her university. The experience changed her life and helped our entire family understand the lives, customs, and cultures of others.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the transformation of the youth involved in the program -- as they began to "Understand" -- then develop and mature.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Gaining personal knowledge of the Jewish culture and the wonderful friends I met and made along the way -- and I was just a parent of a student, on the outside, looking in!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Very professional, extremely dedicated

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand, assist a lot more students and parents along the way.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 20, 2009

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August 20, 2009

OUDC was one of the single most meaningful experiences of my life. I could not wait to join OUDC after my brother graduated from Class 10. I was constantly in awe of the stories he told, the friends he made, and the impact that the program had on his life. Just as the experience changed my brother, it made me into the person I am today. Not only did I learn a tremendous amount about both African American and Jewish culture, but I learned about the ways in which our two communities have worked together in the past to accomplish something that lives on today. I learned about Jewish movements, and the Civil Rights Movement. I listened to incredible speakers, many of whom were unsung heroes. They amazed me with their courage, and inspired me to stand up for what is right and what I believe in. Joanne Bland, from Selma, Alabama, is one of the most amazing women I've ever met in my life. She has been with the program since Class 1 and continues to affect each participant with her stories from Bloody Sunday when they arrive in the historically vibrant town. In addition to the educational part of the program, I grew so much as a human being and a global citizen. I expanded the lens with which I view the world, and I have become much more aware of my own judgments, opinions, and actions. I don't know exactly who I am, but OUDC helped me to understand who I ultimately want to become. I turned 19 three days ago. I had a small birthday party at my house to celebrate the end of summer and going back to college. I invited only five friends from my high school. However, I invited the 29 people who I graduated from OUDC with. They are my true friends. They are the people I want to share exciting news with, or lean on when its just been one of those days. They are the people who challenge me politically, spiritually, and emotionally. They are my family.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my interactions with other students, not only African American and Jewish, at my university. I honestly experience the results every single day of my life when I engage with other people on issues ranging from religion, to politics, to spirituality.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

create a program during the Spring where participants would be able to do a school exchange and see how other participants learn. I think this would be extremely interesting considering the various socio-economic levels of participants in the program.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting amazing people who have challenged me to think beyond my own opinions, as well as the places that I've gone and the experiences I've had in retracing the Freedom Rides through the South.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

deeply committed to furthering the program's ultimate goal of connecting African American and Jewish high school students.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

involve even more participants in the program, organize school exchanges between participants, and even send participants to Senegal and Israel.

Ways to make it better...

there were more retreats with the other participants before the summer journey. The retreats were a great way to bond with the other participants, as well as learn about various subjects in an intensive setting.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the lack of funding.

One thing I'd also say is that...

OUDC is an amazing organization and anyone that has the opportunity to participate will be forever changed in the way that they look at the world and interact with others.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 18, 2009

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August 18, 2009

As a current member of the OUDC class (Class 15) I must say that OUDC is simply an outstanding program. Not only has the program blessed me with the privilege of learning another culture and group of people, but it helped me understand and appreciate my own. As an African American male who lives in a society where people who resemble myself are not perpetuated by the media as successful and great people, I lost a since of pride in whom I was. However, I now take pride in who I am and that is because this program has helped me to redefine who I am. The final thing that I have truly taken from the program is my new sense of responsibility to fight for social justice and I know I can do it along the side of my OUDC community. I am now creating a Social Justice club at my school, in the process of setting up speeches at local churches and synagogues about oppression, and I am talking to my family about racism and antisemitism. I am now strong enough and passionate enough to talk about subjects that are usually pushed under the rug and this is all thanks to OUDC.

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my daily interaction with friends and my newly developed passion for Social Justice. I am now empowered to talk out against racial, sexual, and any other slurs used by my peers and family members.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting people who were actually apart of the Civil Rights movement and hearing them share their stories. This part of the experience was one that I enjoyed but was also one that was very powerful and made feel more then obligated to stand up for others.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

amazing people who all had a passion for social justice and who were formally apart of the program.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Extend its summer journey by an extremely larger amount of days and also add more participants.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 13, 2009

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August 13, 2009

This is a wonderful organization. My daughter participated five years ago and it was a life changing experience for her. The Black and Jewish kids in the program were extraordinary and I have no doubt that OUDC achieved its goal of forging a new understanding and commitment from them that has influenced their work and community leadership. My daughter, for example, learned from OUDC that her activism could matter and she has been involved as a leader on her campus in promoting understanding and civil dialogue about Israel-related issues. OUDC operates on the assumption that individuals change the world - it equips these young people to be agents of change. A great cause.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My experiences with the kids who have been in the program, and also in the parents seminars that brought the Black and Jewish families together to consider issues of race, culture, and society

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Watching the kids develop - by the end of the program, I felt like they were all my children.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

The executive director does a wonderful job

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

This isn't an organization that would work with that much money. It definitely needs more money but part of the organization's importance is its personal approach to the challenge of race relations;it's not an organization that can scale up significantly

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 10, 2009

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August 10, 2009

This one year program is wonderful. It teaches the history of both the Jews and Blacks in the U.S., promotes understanding between the groups, including issues on which Blacks and Jews may differ (e.g. affirmative action, Israel, Islam, etc.) and results in many warm and long-lasting friendships among Blacks and Jews. Originally started in Philadelphia, this program has spread to other cities, such as St. Louis, and is highly effective in helping to assimilate disparate groups of high-school children into an increasingly diverse society.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen the results of this organization in the participants. Many form warm relationships which they would never have formed because the participants come from different backgrounds (e.g. Black inner-city teens are introduced to suburban Jews).

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue doing exactly the same thing.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The people.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Professional, honest, tolerant of others opinions, intelligent.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Help solve many of the racial and class problems resulting from the lack of understanding between diverse groups.

Ways to make it better...

Other than needing additional funds to help serve the organization's purpose (something which most such programs are always seeking) I can find little in need of improvement.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Raising funds to continue the program.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 9, 2009

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August 9, 2009

OUDC taught me more in one year than any other institure of learning did in my entire life. In the program we learned about important Civil Rights figures such as Revrend Billy Kyles, and Doug Jones, the lawyer who, after many long years, brought those who were responsible for the infamous 16th Street Baptist Church bombing to justice. We also met with the African Hebrews, which was a HUGE experience that shook my own moral existence!! We also visited different kinds of synnagouges and churches, some of which were very interactive, and others that were very deep and spiritual, and some that were both. But what really made the experience so much more meaningful was going through it with my classmates and my faciliatators, AJ, Jon, Leslie, and Liz. It was somthing about the selection of my twenty-eight other classmates that was too perfect-not because we all got along perfectly, but because we all had unique perspectives and ideals that we were not afraid to share with each other. That is the kind of atmosphere and strong community that OUDC breeds, and that is why the program helps to create a better sense of Understanding between indiviuals of all kinds of backgrounds, wether they be socioeconomic, religious, racial, cultural, or even age-related. In short, this program is absolutley PHENOMENAL!!! My faciliatators warned me that this program is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and that even if I were to go visit all the same places with the same people, it wouldnt be the same--and they were absolutley right. Throught this program I feel as though now i finally have a purpose, and that purpose is to fight injustice in any way that I can. OUDC has given me the tools to stand UP and speak OUT, and to get others to do the same. (The program even gave me a new passion for reading, which i never used to do!!) I know that anyone who joins OUDC will have their minds opened, and their ambitions focused on building a better tomorrow.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My school, in other peoples schools, and in some synnagouges where Jewish graduates of the program have become rabbis. Also, my faciliataors who did OUDC have made great strides in their communities by educating their friends & families about wat we learn

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Advocate more of the same, but try to get more speakers if i could. I would also try to get more people to donate and more people to join, because the program should be larger so more people can learn what we did.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Having debreif sessions with my class. The quest speakers and museums were great, but the debreif session were when we could excahnge ideas on how we felt or what we learned through the day. it was when our puzzle pieces all came together.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

EXTREMLEY intelligent, even though they did teach like sophists or schoolteachers. They were very patient with us when we were tired. Also, they are incredible because they tracked down our speakers and organized the entire program, which shows dedication

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand the length of many of the classes & of the summer journey, get more students per class, and possibly give students the money they might need to start campaigns or organizations to further their cause. The program could also advertise more.

Ways to make it better...

The trip was longer. Even though I felt exhausted by the time i left the month-long trip, i knew that there was still much more we could have visited in the South, because we would always have to leave museums early to catch other appointments.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Getting more donations, & getting more people to join. Because the program isnt very big, its often hard to find donors, and so I hope by writing to you the program gains more publicity so it can grow. Kids often dont care about the program enough 2 join

One thing I'd also say is that...

The program breeds a generation of young leaders in a way that no other program can. It showed me how anyone can be a hero in this world (even our busdriver shared his story on how he helped save victime of Katrina!) and it also helped me to branch out.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 9, 2009

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August 9, 2009

O.U.D.C. is an incredible organization run and staffed by amazing individuals who make up a team that inspires and equips several dozen African-American and Jewish youth for a unique and necessary purpose. OUDC provides its students with the knowledge and tools to learn more about the rich and complex histories and narratives and contemporary issues involved in each community in the United States, and their interaction and relationship. It is not often in life that a person has the opportunity to learn for the sake of learning. Of course, this is hopefully the case in high school, college, and further higher education, but there are always grades involved and in that sense as a student you work for grades that measure your knowledge. Also, in the long run as a student you work towards earning your degree. Operation Understanding D.C. is not for a grade; its purpose is to enrich the understanding of young Jews and Blacks in the DC metro area of their own histories and the current intricacies of the Black-Jewish friendship in America (and around the world by extension I think). Since OUDC I have been very involved in the Black-Jewish relationship on my college campus, and my experiences and dedication to social justice issues will be a constant in my life in the years to come. Additionally, I an indebted to OUDC for lifelong friendships. Moreover, I now have a handful of friends to whom I know I can turn to for advice, a helping hand, etc. for anything relating to social issues in our communities. We like to think of OUDC as having a ripple effect in the sense that the program touches more than the 32 students in each class - its message that knowledge and friendship can help us overcome historic prejudices in order to eventually eradicate all forms of antisemitism, racism and all discriminations, reaches parents, friends, teachers, family, and others who are related to each year's OUDC Class.

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The activities of its alumni on college campuses especially. The social-minded careers of its alumni.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Hire more staff and include more kids (perhaps run two classes each year...)

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

My memorably meaningful (and fun) experiences throughout my year, and the friends I have made.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Wonderful, truly dedicated people engaged in important work.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Make the world a much more pleasant place in which to live,

Ways to make it better...

n/a

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Getting the word out!

One thing I'd also say is that...

OUDC should for sure be featured on GreatNonprofits and Guidestar.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

August 8, 2009

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August 8, 2009

This organization changed my life Not only did I learn so much about black and jewish culture/history and connections, I also met amazing people who I KNOW will be the agents of change in the future. The people I met inspired me and motivated me to continue to be a positive leader in my own community. OUDC has inspired me to continue to make working for social justice my career.

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More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The people I met along the way, the amazing stories I heard and the in depth discussions I was lucky to be a part.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Lacking on the part of the jewish participants. I hope one day I can be a part of the staff!!!

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Use the money to get the word out to more possible participants in order to ensure those who are involved are the most committed and enthusiastic. The money would also allow for OUDC to focus on programming without worrying about funds as a limitation.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

August 8, 2009

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August 8, 2009

As a member of Class 15, I think that this is one of the best and most rewarding programs or non-profits I have ever come in contact with, and it opened my mind and truly carried out its mission. OUDC makes me want to become an activist and fight racism and prejudices in my communities today

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my friends' and my progress into becoming responsible members of our community and activists.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

be proud of myself. I would also work to organize workshops to promote understanding at schools in the DC area with participants and keep staff and students inspired and motivated to make a difference.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

all the people I've met -- not just speakers, but my classmates and our groupleaders, each of whom inspired me in some way; and everything I've learned about how to implement change in my community.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

some of the most intelligent, kind, helpful, and extrordinary people I have ever met.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

inspire more people like me and reach sectors of society to spread understanding not just among young adults but among grown-ups.

Ways to make it better...

I had had more time on the Summer Journey and with my friends.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

financial and a lack of slots for applicants.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this program makes one fully realize the power of the human spirit against hardships.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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