Member Programs

THE FOUNDATION FOR OUR PROGRAMS

Footsteps offers a wide range of programming to people at all stages of their transition out of the ultra-Orthodox community. Staff works with members to develop programs.  Peer support and giving back are central to our philosophy – once members have been through the initial stages with us many become active in creating and running programs.

Most of our programs are exclusively for our members. To find out more about becoming a member, click here.

Community Building Programs

Are you looking to socialize with like-minded people? Our community-building programs are for people at all stages of the transition out of ultra-Orthodoxy.

See our calendar for upcoming dates

Annual Events and Parties

These events attract from 50-100+ people and are always a great time!

  • New Beginnings: A potluck dinner event that takes place between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
  • Winter Party: A fun dinner and dance party in January.
  • Pesach Dinner: This is a festive sit-down, potluck dinner that takes place during chol hamoed Pesach.
  • Footsteps Celebrates: An evening of celebration to showcase member accomplishments. Donors and friends of the organization are invited.
  • Camping Trip: Each summer we head out to the mountains for some fun in the country!
  • Thanksgiving Potluck: A celebration replete with Turkey and the trimmings. Come find out why almost everyone in America celebrates this holiday.

Schmooze and Food

A casual evening for members and their friends to socialize. There is always great food and conversation.

When:
Last Thursday of each month, 7:30-9 p.m.

Who can attend:
Members and their friends.

Basketball and Soccer

A member-run bi-monthly coed-basketball or soccer game (Soccer in the warmer months and basketball in the colder months). Come learn the rules and test your chops on the court or field.

When:
Monthly on Sundays

Who can attend:
Any member

Art Shows

These participant-led art shows encourage participants to express themselves through art. Participant art gets displayed in the Footsteps space for three months.

When:
Art exhibition openings take place twice a year, in the fall and spring

Who can participate:
Any member can contribute art. Members and friends can attend the openings

Peer and Emotional Support Programs

The transition from ultra-Orthodox life to mainstream society can be daunting. Sometimes it helps to have someone with whom to talk. Our peer support programs are designed to give members the chance to get to know one another as well as to learn new skills and information about the secular world.

While we are not a mental health agency, staff members are available to meet one-on-one for supportive counseling. We also offer referrals for longer term therapy or other mental health services.

See our calendar for upcoming dates

Drop-In Group

A group for meeting new people, making friends, and discussing issues.

When:
First and Third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m.

Who can attend:
Any Footsteps member

Footsteps 1

A group for new Footsteps members who are at the initial stage of exploring life in the secular world.

When:
Weekly for a six- to eight-week period. This is a closed group and you must register

Who can attend:
New members

Rockland Drop-In Group

A support group for people in and near Rockland County, New York.

When:
First, Second and Third Thursday of every month at 7:30 p.m.

Who can participate:
Any member

Dating, Relationship and Sexuality Group

Facilitated by two Footsteps volunteers – one male, one female – these workshops are designed to help participants learn about the dating and relationship norms in secular society. Each meeting follows a theme and participants are encouraged to ask questions.

When:
Monthly. Please check the calendar for the exact day and time.

Who can attend:
Any member

One-to-One Supportive Counseling

Members can meet with social workers for short-term supportive counseling to discuss emotional challenges, questions about identity, maintaining family relationships, and planning for the future.  Social work staff work to ensure members are connected with appropriate external resources during these sessions as well, including mental health referrals.

Just Stop In

Footsteps’ program center – a.k.a. The Space – is open to members who would like to relax, socialize, and use our computer lab.

The Space is open from 4pm-10pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

Additional Programming

Check the calendar for additional programs, including workshops, classes, social gatherings, and more. If there is an event you would like to suggest or a class you would like to give, please let us know.

Education Programs

Do you dream about going to college? Footsteps can help. Members can meet with Footsteps staff to discuss the process, get connected with volunteer education coaches, and obtain resources to prepare and study. Members can also apply for our academic scholarships.

See our calendar for upcoming dates

Explore Your Educational Goals

Do you dream about going to college? Footsteps can help. Members can meet with Footsteps staff to discuss the process, get connected with volunteer education coaches, and obtain resources to prepare and study. Members can also apply for our academic scholarships.

High School Equivalency (TASC) Preparation

If you would like to take the high school equivalency test (formerly known as the GED), Footsteps can connect you to free classes, volunteer tutors, and online resources. Members are also welcome to use the Footsteps computer lab to study.

College Guidance

You are welcome to meet with Footsteps staff to discuss your options for college. We can talk through applications, majors, programs, and financial aid. Footsteps can also connect you to supportive programs and volunteers.

Scholarship Program

Footsteps offers a scholarship program for students pursuing academic degrees. Check our website in the spring to access our scholarship application.

Career Programs

Getting a job “out there” is often a concern for our members. Our career programs are designed to help members seeking to find jobs and build careers in the secular world. We support our members’ economic empowerment by offering one-on-one career counseling, referrals for job seekers, and connections to mentors in various industries. We also have a summer internship program to help our members gain work experience. If you are looking for work or thinking about changing your job, you can talk to us about your plans.

See our calendar for upcoming dates

Career Coaching

Discuss your career ideas with a Footsteps staff member and get connected to people and resources in the field of your interest.

Career Workshops

Footsteps offers various workshops throughout the year related to career development, including job search and career-specific evenings.

Footsteps Career Fellowship

The Footsteps Career Fellowship program connects members to internships in the field of their choosing. The program, which runs during the summer, includes weekly professional development workshops, a stipend, and mentor matches. Check our website in the spring for the application.

Family Justice Programs

If you are a parent who is considering exploring the world beyond ultra-Orthodoxy, we know that the risks are particularly acute.  Approximately one-third of Footsteps members are parents who came to us as they grappled with redefining their relationships with their spouses and children. This can include the sticky issues of divorce and custody. Through our Family Justice Program, Footsteps seeks to help members resolve these matters as smoothly as possible.

See our calendar for upcoming dates

One-to-One Support

Footsteps staff is available to meet with you to provide emotional support through what is often a difficult time, as well as information about the separation or divorce process and to connect you with other members who have been through the experience.

Legal Services

Through a partnership established between Footsteps and NYLAG (New York Legal Assistance Group), family law services are available to qualified members of Footsteps. Free/affordable services help members obtain divorces, custody, visitation, child support, orders of protection and other legal support. Footsteps also provides workshops with professionals from NYLAG to help educate members on legal issues.

If a member is not eligible for NYLAG services, staff will work to identify a private attorney who is familiar with our community.

Court Companions

Court can be overwhelming for anyone going through a divorce or child custody. For individuals leaving the community this is an especially grueling experience. This program matches volunteers with our members providing a compassionate presence during this difficult time.

Family Issues Handbook

The Family Issues Handbook [click here to download] was created by the combined efforts of a number of Footsteps members, staff, and supporters. We hope this will serve as an invaluable resource for the countless individuals grappling with issues of separation or divorce amidst a religious transition. With this handbook, we aim to help people better understand the divorce and custody process and its potential ramifications. Our hope is that parents who decide to leave ultra-Orthodoxy can lead lives according to the terms of their choosing without sacrificing custody of their children.

This handbook is meant as a starting point. If you are facing these challenges, please reach out to Footsteps for support and guidance. To set up a time to speak with a Footsteps staff member, please email info@footstepsorg.org or call 212.253.0890, ext. 7.