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samteicher

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Operation Understanding DC
October 29, 2013

This program was life-changing for me (Class 13). One of the greatest and most profound experiences of my life. To learn what we did through this structure is brilliant. Jewish and Black American cultures, the Civil Rights Movement, dialogue workshops... while making lifelong friends and getting to visit some of the most important places in American history with the actors who helped make the Civil Rights Movement a success? C'mon...what more could you want?

-Sam

Ways to make it better...

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

Let the students have a bit more free time at night during the month-long trip.

More feedback

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2007

MY ROLE:
Client Served

Operation Understanding DC
August 4, 2009

Operation Understanding DC (OUDC) is by far the greatest thing I have participated in my life and my experiences from the program have played a major role in my life. OUDC brings together Black and Jewish rising seniors from the DC area in a year-long program. In it, I learned. I learned about history; of Black culture in the United States: slavery, literature, the Civil Rights Movement, West African song and dance; the history of the Jewish people: ancient Israel, assimilation and persecution in Europe and the Holocaust, immigration through Ellis Island. We learned about the shared community of Blacks and Jews in SW DC that existed into the 70's. We learned that our families can cook some pretty delicious traditional foods. Our month-long summer bus trip through NYC and the South was one of the most unbelievable experiences of my life. I visited the monumental places of the Civil Rights Movement, like the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the 16th Street Baptist Church, and the Lorraine Motel; met with both leaders of and participants in the Civil Rights Movement; saw beautiful Southern synagogues whose memberships had dwindled down to enough barely to hold a mincha; prayed at churches, synagogues, and mosques, and got an experience of Jewish summer camp at Camp Ramah in Georgia. But what really defined OUDC for me was how much I came to understand myself. And that came not only through the lectures, the video clips from Eye's on the Prize, and the workshops on dialogue facilitation, but through the people who were in OUDC Class 13 with me. At first they were my fellow classmates, and then my friends, and finally a family I will never stop caring about. We learned from each other, having a fun time doing it, and I loved every second of it. My friends in OUDC helped open my eyes and mind outward, and eventually inward, not only to the necessities and opportunities for racial, ethnic, and religious dialogue, but to how different every person is, even if we have a shared religion, race, area code, or flag. Every person has their own beliefs and views, unique experiences and memories, and stories that should be shared. It is a beautiful thing, how we different we all are, and how much people can learn from one another, between individuals, and within our communities, our neighborhoods, our countries, our cultures, our world. And we need to talk to one another, as individuals, as groups, as countries. The facilitation of dialogue is crucial if we want to bring ourselves together and begin laying the foundations for a world with less racial intolerance, religious discrimination, national conflicts, and fear of "the other." Operation Understanding DC enabled me to understand many things outside of what was "me." And through OUDC, I eventually began to understand myself, and how I am shaped by the world around me, and how I can help make it better. And the best part is, I had a hell of a good time doing it.

The Great!

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

the way in which I live my life and interact with the world around me.

Ways to make it better...

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

not change a single thing in the curriculum and planned events.

More feedback

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

the life-long friends I gained because of it.

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

the kind of people we need more of in the world

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

bring together not only Black and Jewish kids in the DC area, but kids from all backgrounds around the world.

Ways to make it better...

we had more free time at night on the summer trip.

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

increasing the facilitation of dialogue across the country

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

OUDC is amazing.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

MY ROLE:
Client Served & Was a member of OUDC Class 13.