Kavanah Coaching: Take Two

Posted on 02/25/2022 @ 07:00 AM

Tags: Teen Education & Engagement, Youth Professionals

How can CAJE help Jewish professionals working with teens be more effective mentors, better able to help our children navigate this increasingly complex and stressful world supported by Jewish wisdom?
This was the question that Carly Orshan, Director of CAJE’s Teen Department, and Rabbi Efrat Zarren-Zohar, CAJE’s Executive Director, were discussing several years ago. We recognized that there were excellent professional development opportunities CAJE was providing in the ECE, Congregational Ed and Day School world. 
But for teen youth professionals? There was virtually nothing in the way of professional development.
That’s when Carly got to work envisioning a revolutionary idea – train youth professionals on how to coach teensask powerful questions, and infuse Jewish wisdom into conversations and educational experiences. 
CAJE applied to the prestigious Covenant Foundation with its idea of Kavanah Coach Training and in 2018, received the maximum grant amount of $150,000 to develop a 60-hour program for Youth Professionals to become certified coaches. 
We developed an extensive curriculum (2018-2019) and completed training for our first Cohort (Fall 2020). The program evaluation in 2020 revealed that the experience was impactful for participants, yet most were not interested in pursuing their formal coaching certification. 
Then the pandemic hit and we were no longer able to meet in-person for the trainings, which was also one of the key assumptions of the model. 
So CAJE proposed a new virtual model that would engage both local and national professionals working with teens in 8 shorter (1.5 hours) workshops focused on topics that would be most relevant to them and that aligned with the coaching curriculum. 
Through JTeen Professionals, CAJE was able to publicize this opportunity to Jewish educators who work with teens from all across the nation.
We have 14 participants in this current cohort, 3 of whom are local, and 17 people have pre-registered for the Fall cohort.
Each participant received a box with fun and educational materials (see the picture above) to prepare and excite them for the weeks to come. With generous support from the Covenant Foundation, each participant will also receive a food stipend for breakfast/lunch for the learning days.
Only a few years ago, no one believed that teen youth workers would respond to a professional development opportunity because they work in such a part-time capacity and the turnover is so great.
We are so proud of Carly and our Teen Department for their creative, “out of the box” thinking (pun intended!) that earned us a Covenant award and a further opportunity to increase youth professionals’ effectiveness with our teens.

The next Cohort will take place October - December 2022.
Click Here to learn more.