Summer Programs

An excerpt from one of the 2016 participants blogs after visiting Skid Row

“Many people would expect one to leave an experience like that feeling empowered and ready to help solve the insidious problem of homelessness in Los Angeles or America at large. The unfortunate truth is that many of us simply felt helpless. And that’s okay. The important thing is that there is no doubt in each of our minds that something needs to change.”


Join us in Southern California, and explore how the city of Los Angeles is helping people find their way out of poverty. You will work alongside members of various communities to hear their powerful stories, combined with exposure to the booming university scene, and cultural activities, gain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of this incredible city.

Los Angeles’s idyllic setting is both on the cutting edge of social change, activism, and environmentalism. It is filled with a variety of socio-economic, political, and cultural tensions that have given way to income and wage gaps, high levels of incarceration and gang association, and other factors that have built barriers for those who are seeking to rehabilitate their lives and re-enter the workforce in a positive way.
During this two-week experience with Tzedek America you will learn about the journey from homelessness to middle class. Not only will the group have hands-on direct service projects, but also spend time contextualizing these larger-scale challenges, and learning from other companies and organizations who are finding impactful solutions.

Additionally, living within the safe environment of the world-renowned University of Southern California (USC) campus, with access to nearby beaches and cultural activities, there will also be plenty of opportunities to experience life as Southern Californian!

At A Glance

Dates: July 23 – August 5, 2017
Length: 14 days
Issue Focus: The Journey from Homelessness to Middle Class
Community Service Hours: 80
Cost: $3,100
Open to all rising 10th – graduating 12th graders

Community Service Opportunities

Participants will be spending time supporting and learning from individuals and organizations that are working to have a positive social impact in Los Angeles. The service work sites include:
• GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles
• Alexandria House
• Union Rescue Mission


Life on a College Campus
Part of the program is getting to experience life on a college campus. Participants will be housed in the dorms at the University of Southern California (USC), located in the heart of downtown LA. In this setting, the group enjoys:

    • Dorm living
    • Use of pool and recreational activities
    • Variety of dining hall and restaurant options
    • Acres of beautiful outdoor space
    • Culture of Los Angeles

Each day, participants will have time on their own to relax or explore the area, within the safe boundaries outlined by their Tzedek America staff. The group also takes time to visit some of the area’s unique attractions:

  • Hike to the iconic Hollywood sign
  • Enjoy a sunset and live concert on the beach
  • Explore the Santa Monica Pier
  • Visit some of the famous museums and cultural centers
  • Relax on the beach