Students will take part in non-formal discussions based around readings, field trips, guest speakers, internships, and experiences in their home stays. These discussions are designed to cultivate space where students feel they can safely and thoroughly engage with their beliefs, critique and re-configure their world-views, and practice the art of deep dialogue. This classroom environment allows students to collaborate with and support one another as they journey through their gap year.

Non-formal Education



  1. Be inspired by what you do. We are most interested in individuals, groups, and circumstances that inspire others and ourselves. We believe that inspiration is the driving force behind positive change and must be given room to expand and contract freely. Therefore, we work hard to cultivate environments where inspiration can take root, mature, and bloom into new ideas. With unwavering resolve, we strive to make inspiration apart of our everyday.
  2. Practice creativity often. If inspiration is the spark, than creativity is the fire. From the beginning of Taproot’s inception, creative freedom has played an integral role in our development and sustainability. But it requires practice; practice moving between creative freedom and effective solutions. Naturally, a healthy understanding of the role tinkering and failure play in the process is key. 
  3. Be persistent and commit. We prefer to think like the tortoise over the hare. Though inspiration and creativity often demand quick adaptations and timely iterations, we believe steady commitment is vital to lasting impact. With the bulk of our work being relational, maintaining a steady presence and continuous drive towards sustainable solutions is paramount. Abiding commitment is like sailing upriver: we may have to change course often, but our direction remains the same. 
  4. Our team is the community. We believe that our individual efforts, as noble as they may be, are only as impactful as they are woven into the larger efforts of the group. Similarly, the Taproot model can only work insofar as it is embedded into a community of supporters and stakeholders. It is paramount that we ultimately serve to better the communities in which we work. This means there is always a larger team and a broader community which we need to be conscious and respectful of. 


Our location is important to us. Though we believe God’s kingdom stretches to all parts of the globe, we have chosen to concentrate our lives to a couple of diverse neighborhoods in South Philadelphia. We found that by planting ourselves close enough together for life overlap to occur, our time and efforts could be used more wisely, and in fact, help us to experience the Gospel anew. With a vibrant small business district, over a dozen refugee and immigrant organizations, and economic diversity ranging from upper middle class to below the poverty line, all within a mile’s walking distance, we believe this place makes the perfect home for us and is incredibly fertile soil for God’s kingdom to grow. 

Additionally, maintaining a global perspective is not forgone by choosing to root locally. In fact, we are convinced that it is precisely such commitments that make long term global partnership possible. Because we are able to easily network and partner with a wide range of populations from around the world, we can help build and support initiatives in other countries in ways that otherwise would be impossible. The deeper our roots stretch within the diversity represented in South Philadelphia, the deeper our impact may be in communities elsewhere. 


Our desire is to bring glory to God in all that we say and do, and we are convinced that the most effective and transformative events in history are rooted in the commitment of a few people to fill their lives with small acts of faithfulness. Though we make no pretense to do this perfectly, we do strive to live as faithful participants in God’s story and skillful disciples of Jesus. Our hope is that well equipped and faithfully persistent Christians would become actively involved with their entire lives in the work of community transformation around the world.