The Middle School Friends (MSF) program serves Philadelphia Yearly Meeting by hosting weekend-long gatherings throughout the year focused around themes that are relevant to middle schoolers and the Religious Society of Friends as a whole.
The Middle School Friends program has two main goals. The first is to teach Middle Schoolers about Quakerism and Quaker values through workshops, activities, and positive modeling by volunteer Friendly Presences (FPs). The second is to live Quaker values through providing safe spaces for Middle Schoolers to gather, explore spirituality, grow community and wrestle with their own concept of self through the often challenging period of life known as Middle School.
It is hoped that by participating in the MSF program, middle school Friends will come away with a better sense of what it means to be Quaker, establish and maintain meaningful relationships with other Quakers their age, develop a sense of possibility for what being Quaker could mean for them in their lives today, and in the future.
About the coordinator:
Tara Rubinstein serves Philadelphia yearly Meeting as the Middle School Friends (MSF) coordinator. That means directing, advertising and finding locations for weekend retreats for middle schoolers every six to eight weeks throughout the school year as well as running middle school activities during annual sessions. Tara has a degree in Secondary Education from Temple University, but has chosen to pursue an out-of-the-box career in holistic youth development. She spent the last 7 years as the Program Coordinator at the Attic Youth Center. There, she saw to the expansion of programs for the LGBTQ youth population in Philly aimed at building community, reducing isolation, combating homophobia, promoting knowledge and life skills, and developing future leaders. Tara has extensive experience in youth development within diverse contexts, including those wherein spirituality is the focus. While not at work, Tara enjoys playing with her almost-three-year-old daughter and spending time in nature.