Our Mission

Tapoot Gap Year is a residential non-formal educational primer in the city of Philadelphia whose mission is to cultivate spiritual and critical tools in young adults so that they might establish community in service to the marginalized.


  • Taproot - A taproot acts as an anchor for a plant, growing downward as the primary root from which others grow. Taproots only form from a germinated seed and are the first and primary root to form.

  • Residential - Taproot Gap Year believes in the importance of living among and connecting with those in the community. Our unwavering commitment to home stay placement is proof of this and serves as one of the primary pillars of our program. Learn more about our home stays here.

  • Non-formal Education - We believe that there are three primary forms of education: formal, informal, and non-formal. Formal education is considered traditional classroom instruction, while informal education is what is learned through the lens of everyday life and experience. Non-formal education is where formal and informal knowledge are intentionally brought together, compared and critiqued. Learn more about our non-formal instruction here.

  • Primer - A primer can serve to prepare a surface for either absorption or resistance or else can facilitate ignition. As an educational primer, Taproot Gap Year prepares students to engage critically with the world and their faith as they move into college and the workforce.

  • Philadelphia - Our roots are paramount to our structure. Although Taproot Gap Year is committed to a global world view, we emphasize that for successful and lasting impact there must be geographic roots. South Philadelphia is our geographic center. Learn more about Philadelphia here.

  • Community - We believe that any and every lasting good must be sustained by a community of like-minded people hungry for change. Apart from the creativity and perseverance of those in community together, including people from all walks of life, beliefs, and traditions, it is impossible to answer the growing needs of our neighborhoods and larger communities. That's why we intentionally foster deep relationships with those in our neighborhood to better serve our neighbors and our world.   

  • Service - Communities of change must be communities of service. Service cannot be practiced in theory or thought, just as it cannot be done alone. A community that practices forgiveness, grace, and justice, all of which demand physical action, is a community of true service. 

  • Marginalized - We believe that all people are beloved and deserve unrestricted access to basic human needs, including love, education, and a deep sense of belonging. However, there have always been those on the margins of society that become increasingly voiceless and invisible. Taproot is actively committed to keeping our ears to the ground and our hearts open to individuals and communities that have been marginalized by the majority (including ourselves), and seeks to humbly walk alongside and empower those unheard voices in our midst.


From theory to practice, we aspire to provide our students with a locally-rooted and globally-minded educational experience that inspires and empowers them to close the widening gap between thinking and doing. The goal is to live into the fullness of our humanity. Our unwavering commitment to this holistic approach and its application to personal and community development, in Philadelphia and around the world, is what sets us apart as a truly one-of-a-kind education program.