Where do you sit in the Jewish Community? Do you have any affiliations?

Our organisation is pluralistic and independent. We are not affiliated with any other Jewish organisation (although we volunteer with several). We are inclusive, open and welcome Jewish families of all faiths, backgrounds and ideologies.

How is this program different from all the other Bar/Batmitzvah programs out there?

1. The Twelve and Thirteen program offers a pluralistic program to any Bar/Batmitzvah aged young person who identifies as Jewish. 2. Our unique program allows a parent to join their teen for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore a diverse range of social justice issues whilst making a contribution to the community via hands on volunteering. 3. Many of our volunteering opportunities are unique and tailored to our participants’ age group and these opportunities are not generally available to the public.

How does the program work?

Our volunteering sessions range between one hour to two hours in length and are held only on Sundays. Digital sessions are limited to approximately one hour to minimise Zoom fatigue. Face to face sessions will generally last between 90 minutes to two hours. Partner charities are handpicked to provide rich experiential experiences exploring a diverse range of social justice issues (such as homelessness, disability, literacy, food security), through a variety of volunteering activities (such as cooking food, planting a garden, visiting elderly residents, making emergency packs for children in care etc). These volunteering sessions are scaffolded by weekly Tiny Talks activations, which encourages your young person to further reflect on different social issues and the actions that they can take.

Why does the program look so different from previous years?

Now more than ever, there are many more people in deep need and many more charities to support. Twelve & Thirteen pride ourselves on innovation and our 2021 program will be bigger and better with some new approaches. This reinvention is not simply a reaction to COVID, but a more flexible model to suit different family circumstances and needs - giving you more ways to give, connect and grow.

What is the difference between The Giving Channel and The Twelve & Thirteen program?

With unlimited spots, The Giving Channel is designed to be delivered purely online, a convenient way for families to participate; who may be uncomfortable or unable [due to COVID-19 considerations] to attend face to face group sessions or aimed at those living outside Melbourne. Pricing has been made accessible and set at $225 [early bird $199]. Limited to 50 spots, the Twelve & Thirteen Program comprises all elements of The Giving Channel as well as six face to face sessions [includes the opening workshop and closing ceremony]. The pricing has been set at $550 [early bird $499].

Why are there only limited spots in The Twelve & Thirteen program?

In previous years, we were able to host up to 40 people and on the rare occasions even 50+ people in one workshop. COVID Safe restrictions now require our community partners to limit numbers, reducing the number of families we can accommodate in the near future. As restrictions open up further, we may be able to offer additional face to face sessions to those who have enrolled in The Giving Channel. The small group sizes will ensure that sessions are intimate, meaningful and foster optimum participation.

Who are the sessions run by?

Sessions will be planned and developed in close collaboration with the relevant community partner by the Program Manager and delivered to our families by our team of dedicated facilitators.

What if my young person can’t attend all the sessions?

A 2021 calendar [subject to potential changes outside our control] will be provided in mid December 2020. We understand that you may not be able to attend every element of the diverse program offering. A wide variety of sessions and activities are offered to provide flexibility to suit learning styles and varying time commitments. While each session is not strictly compulsory, we encourage you to attend as often as possible as the program offers unique and tailor made workshops to ensure a comprehensive and rich experience. We ask that once you RSVP your attendance, please commit to attending, otherwise let us know in advance so that we might accommodate other families who may have missed out.

Who can accompany my young adult? Can they attend with a friend?

Twelve & Thirteen is a predominantly family program and we encourage parents and grandparents to share this special journey with their teen. Parents are seen as equal participants and for each volunteering session, each teen must be accompanied by their own parent. If a parent/guardian cannot attend, then a grandparent or family member can accompany the teen. We strongly encourage parents to make an effort to be genuinely attuned and engaged in our sessions. Your role in the program is to volunteer and participate alongside your adolescent, providing a rich and memorable shared experience for your family.
There are two key elements which will not require parent involvement, the Whats App Tiny Talks and Learning Labs. These special elements are intended for young adults only, to engage in small group teamwork and discussions with other adolescents, which are facilitated by our Pod Leaders.

My teen wants to be with their friends. Can you ensure they are put together?

Unless you have a very important reason e.g. if your teen has significant social issues at school and needs to be separated from another teen, or social anxiety in groups etc, we kindly discourage you from making such requests. Part of the appeal and benefit of our program is that your young adult can meet new teen acquaintances from across the Jewish community. Our session groups are compiled with a healthy mix of schools to encourage you and your young adult to get to know others outside your circle.

Do I get to choose what sessions we attend?

Yes, participants will be sent invitations to available sessions regularly. Each session will have limited spots, it will be on a first come first served basis. Whilst you won’t be able to attend every single face to face session on offer, many of our workshops are repeated more than once, so if you don’t get in the first time, look out for the session in future months. Not all charities are able to offer sessions enough times to cater to our full cohort, however we make every effort to ensure you are offered a variety of sessions. Some of our more popular workshops will also have a digital version to ensure your teen has an opportunity to learn more about that issue.

What do I need to bring to a session?

From time to time, we may ask you to bring or collect particular items (some new, some good quality second hand). We encourage you to do this with your young adult and involve them in as much of the process as possible. For example, this could include going to the supermarket together to buy non perishable grocery items or collecting second hand books from family and friends etc. The Giving Channel from time to time may require you to print out a handout or resource in order for your teen to fully participate in the session.

What does the Opening Workshop entail?

The first workshop in February is for parents and your young adult. It covers behavioral expectations and values, why and how we volunteer, as well as introducing the overall program to the participants. It will be immediately followed by a fun volunteering activity to kick off the program. It will be run by internal and external facilitators with experience in working with adolescents. Workshops are interactive, thought provoking and fun.

What happens at the Closing Ceremony?

This will be an exhibition styled event that honours your adolescent and your family’s achievements during the year as well as an opportunity for our young participants to showcase a social justice issue which they would like to advocate for. Grandparents, siblings and extended family are welcome to share in this heartwarming event which includes an afternoon tea. There is a nominal cost for each guest attending the Closing Event that is not included in the program fees.

What do my fees pay for?

Your fees cover the costs of volunteering such as materials (eg. purchasing food to cook, toiletries to pack, etc), venue hire and cost of guest speakers and facilitators. The program also has other costs such as administrative support for our team of volunteers and other operational expenses. The success of 2020’s bumper enrollments, the likelihood of some families facing financial hardship and our commitment to maintaining affordability for all Jewish families has allowed our organisation to reinvest back into the program in 2021.

Why has the price increased from last year?

Our price increases have been calculated to keep in line with the increase in program costs such as materials which we use to help those in need e.g meal ingredients for the homeless or materials required to create packs for victims of domestic violence. Our program is predominantly delivered by volunteer facilitators throughout the year, so the facilitation costs are significantly subsidised and have been further subsidised by our organisation for 2021.
We believe our Twelve & Thirteen program offers excellent value as it includes: Six face to face workshops Seven digital sessions 24 weekly Tiny Talk activations Three Learning Labs The Giving Channel also offers excellent value as it includes: A digital opening workshop and closing ceremony Seven digital sessions 24 weekly Tiny Talk activations Three Learning Labs