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What is Walking Together?

Walking Together is an experiential learning program for fourth to sixth grader Christian, Jewish and Muslim students and their parents. Its aim is to teach appreciation of the different religions found in our community.

Walking Together is an interfaith program sponsored by the Orange County Interfaith Network (OCIN) and supported by the Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ).

Walking Together’s Goals.

• To encourage children and their parents to interact with and get to know people of different faiths in positive ways.
• To enable children and their parents to understand different faith expressions.
• To encourage children and their parents to appreciate religious differences.
• To strengthen positive relationships between children and their parents.

The program also aims to create positive relationships between adults and children from the different faith communities, and between parents and children as they together learn the importance of tolerance and understanding.

Why is Walking Together Needed?

One of the most important unmet needs of children in America is the teaching of empathy towards, tolerance for and understanding of ethnic, racial, sexual, gender and religious differences among members of the same community. The failure to meet this need often leads to fear, hate and stereotyping.

The lack of understanding and tolerance may also lead to violent acts and hate crimes which are on the rise in large urban and suburban areas and also in smaller rural communities.

What is Special about Walking Together?

There are many programs that focus on prejudice and intolerance. Those programs most often approach these topics from a negative point of view. Our program, on the other hand, approaches these topics from a positive angle. We believe that if we reach the children early enough, with an age appropriate message in a family setting, they will be receptive to our message.

Walking Together focuses on the values of appreciation and respect. It creates positive reinforcement and tools which will enable the students to avoid the pitfalls of intolerance and hatred as they reach their teen years.

Where the Programs are Held.

Walking Together is hosted in churches, synagogues and mosques throughout Orange County.

The entire program lasts nine hours and is divided into three three-hour sessions – usually held from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM on successive Sundays.

During these sessions students and parents learn of the similarities which unite us and differences which help to form our diverse community.

What is the Orange County Walking Together Program?

The program is operated by Christians, Muslims and Jews; both lay members and clergy. It is a program of the Men of Reform Judaism (MRJ) and is sponsored locally by the Orange County Interfaith Network (OCIN) and its constituent agencies. It is based on the idea that all faiths can work together for the common goals of love, justice, service and compassion.

Walking Together celebrates the diversity of religious expression in Orange County.