The student journey

Story Telling & Dialogue

Stories shape who we are, where we belong and who we want to become, and our words and actions broadcast our stories to the world. At Taproot, we seek to develop the skills of telling our story and listening to the stories of others with intention, and to handle differences with understanding, grace, and appreciation. Through class discussions, and meeting with guest speakers, we hope to foster a deeper appreciation for the stories that make up our world.


There are few skills more important than the ability to walk in the shoes of another; to feel what they feel and see what they see. Empathy is at the foundation of reconciliation and compassion, and integral to Taproot's program and philosophy. While it may be impossible to teach, empathy plays a major role throughout the student journey and is perhaps the most challenging and most rewarding virtue students will practice.


Unless we are challenged to stretch beyond the comfortable and familiar, we risk falling short of becoming our most authentic selves and limiting what we have to offer others. Moving into areas of diversity stretches us to become more informed and understanding of differences, and ultimately helps us to be a part of creating a more just and loving world.

Inspired Change

To be inspired means our being has been filled with the breath of God, and inspired change is when we breathe out what God has filled in us. We have the opportunity to exhale the Divine through millions of faithful actions throughout our lifetime, and when we choose to breathe God in, we become inspired change makers. Our prayer is that we might encourage student’s to take deep breaths throughout their journey.

Listen First

Taproot students get the opportunity to sit down with dozens of Philadelphia's local community leaders and organizers and listen and respond to their stories. These guests come from a variety of cultural, religious and economic backgrounds, each with a unique read on the pulse of their community and Philadelphia as a whole. Our goal is for students to leave with a real sense of how complex yet paramount local issues can be, even on the global stage, and for them to gain a new appreciation for the power of diverse local leadership.


It's possible to read, study, listen, talk, think and question for a lifetime and still not be "educated." For us, education is about awakening critical consciousness that inspires people to act creatively to change themselves and their world for the better. This happens when we leave the classroom and step onto the streets. That’s why we offer over 330 internship hours each semester and have students live with a local immigrant or refugee family for the duration of their time in Philadelphia. Where we work and where we live can be as transformative as where we study. With this model, we hope to help students create a balanced learning experience that gives them courage and strength for their walk with God.