Students Put Relationship Building to Practice

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Published on AJC ACCESSJuly 17, 2013

Recently I attended the AJC ACCESS Summit. While there, I learned more about the organization and how my work at The David Project fits into the larger picture of Israel advocacy. I saw that the AJC and The David Project are both organizations that believe in the methodology of relationship building, just on different levels: The David Project on campus and AJC in the larger community.

A week later, at The David Project’s first Relationship Building Institute in Washington DC, the connection was even more apparent, as the AJC and The David Project created opportunities for our students to see relationship building first hand. The Relationship Building Institute gave the students real life examples of relationship building, by providing the opportunity for students to meet with other interest groups the AJC works with in DC.

One example was when we went to The Greater Washington Urban League. Our students practiced their listening skills by learning about what the Urban League does and then asked good questions. A point that stood out to me was when one of the Urban League interns turned to our students and asked them why they chose to be involved with Israel advocacy. It was great to hear how the students responded and took what we had taught them and put it to use. But more importantly, when the intern asked our students that question, I saw light bulbs go off. Our students were surprised that someone actually asked them and cared to know why they are involved in Israel advocacy. They were able to see that building a relationship really is a two way street.

While it is great for students to learn skills in a classroom, it is even better for them to practice their skills in an interactive environment. The David Project and AJC both believe that relationship building is the most effective method of creating change. I was glad I was able to work with the AJC to help our students put relationship building to work.