Opportunities to Work Across Differences

                                                  with Local Initiatives and Organizations

Find an a place to volunteer that captures your interest and expands your experience of others.  

Contact us to suggest new opportunities.

Ithaca MobilePack, a Community Event to Pack Food to Feed 850 Children for a Year

Since 2014, Shared Journeys has served as fiscal sponsor, coordinator, and advisor to the Ithaca MobilePack, an initiative of Feed My Starving Children. This effort is almost entirely volunteer run with about 1,500 local volunteers, roughly a third of which are children or youth, helping to pack meals and raise almost $70,000 to cover the cost of the food. Participants also learn about local and regional food insecurity issues.

This event, the largest and most diverse local voluntary initiative, brings together Muslims, Jews and Christians—religious as well as secularized or cultural proponents of each—and non-religious folks, low-income participants, grade-school, middle- and high school, and college students, rural and urban.

Ithaca MobilePack

Ithaca MobilePack

Ithaca MobilePack

Ithaca Welcomes Refugees, an Emerging Non-Profit Organization 

After an outpouring of local interest in supporting international refugees, Shared Journeys assumed a role coaching the founding and facilitating the development of the organizational structure of a newly emerging organization, Ithaca Welcomes Refugees. We serve as fiscal sponsor for this volunteer group, which has already included more than 300 participants to promote and serve the needs of refugees in a time of suspicion and hostility. 

Cornell University, Food Science Course

Co-taught FDSC 2500, "Kosher and Halal Food Regulations," an undergraduate course in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for 120 students. In addition to learning about religious food practices and customs, students learned how to communicate across differences.

Community Advisory Board of MacCormick Secure Center, a Maximum Security Prison for Male Youth

Since 2012, Shared Journeys has served as the fiscal sponsor and development coach for the Community Advisory Board of MacCormick Secure Center, a maximum security prison for male youth convicted of extremely violent felonies when they were 16 years old or younger. In the past 12 months, we have re-invented the advisory board to represent a wide array of interests from local citizens, volunteers, educators, vocational trainers, resident advocates, law enforcement officials, and corrections officers from adult facilities. We are also tailoring programming to address the summertime gap when the large pool of college-age volunteers are not available to MacCormick residents, and to raise funds to provide scholarships for students to take online courses for college credit.

A Smithsonian Institution Travelling Exhibit, "Exploring Human Origins"

2016 - 2017, the Ithaca Public Library hosted the Smithsonian Institution’s travelling exhibit, “Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human?” Shared Journeys hosted events to explore profound questions about what it has meant historically, means today, and will mean for generations to come to be “human” from scientific, religious, and cultural perspectives, from both empirical and moral points of view.

"Power to Help, Power to Hurt," An Interactive Play for Young People

In 2013, Shared Journeys helped launch Civic Ensemble, a community interactive theater group, by serving as its fiscal sponsor. Today, with the group self-sufficient, Shared Journeys continues to serve as an advisor and coach. In 2016, Shared Journeys partnered with Civic Ensemble and the Ithaca Youth Bureau to create an interactive play, "Power to Help, Power to Hurt," that engages young people in critical thinking about religious differences. The play is part of "The Tin Can Theatre Tour," a summer theatre program for youth, and addressed issues of bullying involving religious differences. Four actors represented Christian, Jewish, Muslim and non-religious points of view, and the play was performed at summer camps and programs for children throughout the Central New York region.

Community Discussions Among Law Enforcement and Religious Leaders

Shared Journeys facilitated two annual conversations between local religious leaders and the four largest law enforcement agencies in the region. We have observed that clergy and law enforcement officers share a time when their standing in society is simultaneously honored and vilified. These conversations have been a balance of informal “get to know you” sessions and focused conversations on issues in the community, including the protocols around use of lethal force and what community members and law enforcement should be aware of when being stopped. We will continue these conversations to explore the ways in which clergy and law enforcement can learn from each other how best to use their power and authority, both proactively and reactively, to promote safety and justice in the community.

​© 2017, Eric Clay