San Francisco Teen Outreach Program

San Francisco Teen Outreach Program (SFTOP) enables Jewish teens to connect to and explore Jewish culture in modern, multicultural ways in clubs at various high schools in the San Francisco Unified School District. Clubs are for students, by students at places where teens already congregate – like school. Students plan their monthly meetings together and coordinate topics, field trips, speakers and lunches.

Currently SFTOP club meeting sites: George Washington High School, Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, School of the Arts Academy, Gateway High School, Lowell High School.

Learn more about SFTOP at 3200 Stories.

Program Strategies

In May 2007, the Jewish Teen Alliance (JTA) convened a group of teens, lay leaders, educators, and program providers to identify best practices, and obstacles to overcome, in outreach to San Francisco Jewish teens. 

The task force concluded that an effective outreach program ought to include the following strategies:

  • Bring Jewish content to teens where they already congregate, rather than expect them to come to Jewish institutions in order to have a Jewish experience.
  • Use peer-to-peer recruitment – recognizing that teens are influenced by other teens and more likely to participate in activities or groups when invited by their peers. 
  • Partner with successful secular youth programs in which Jewish teens participate already or would be likely to participate to produce relevant and exciting teen programming and events infused with Jewish content, similar to the Hub model pioneered at the JCCSF.
  • Involve key adults who have meaningful and extensive relationships with teens, such as school counselors, teachers, coaches and tutors both inside and outside the Jewish community, to identify possible teen participants as well as encourage them to participate. 

Program Activities

Based on findings and strategies of the Task force, the SFTOP:

  • Relies on a youth leadership approach: culture club participants plan their monthly meetings and larger, community-wide events such as JSERVE and Purim parties.
  • Conceptualized and implemented three Jewish culture clubs based at San Francisco public high schools (Lowell, Galileo and Washington). Based upon innovative models now operating in Washington, D.C. and Columbus, Ohio, the clubs meet monthly at schools, coffee shops or other teen hang outs and provide opportunities for Jewish teens to connect and explore Jewish culture in modern, multicultural ways.
  • Connects leaders (both teens and adult professionals) at public schools and Jewish teen-serving organizations through a network devoted to programming and outreach branded the Jewish Union of San Francisco Teens (JUST).
  • Seeks to produce in collaboration with culture club leaders and secular partner(s), an event to be attended by 50-100 teens.
  • Expanding the group of individual and organizational partners committed to Jewish teen engagement in San Francisco, making the program a true community-wide initiative linking teens engaged and involved through the culture clubs to the rich array of Jewish teen programming currently being offered throughout the San Francisco Bay. 

Queer Jewish Teen Group

Focus on LGBTQIQ themes through a Jewish lens in a fun, inclusive space that is led by teens for teens. Anyone interested can belong to this group and participate in our programs, trips and events, regardless of religion or sexuality.

Partner Organizations:

In addition to the JCCSF and Jewish Learning Works, organizations committed to the SFTOP include BBYO, Congregation Emanu-El, Congregation Sherith Israel, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Jewish Community High School, Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation, New Frontier USY, New Jewish Filmmaking Project of San Francisco Film Festival/Citizen Film, Rosh Hodesh: It's a Girl Thing, and the San Francisco Jewish Community Teen Foundation. Schools include Lowell, Galileo, and Washington.   

The Jewish Union of San Francisco Teens (JUST) is a program of the San Francisco Teen Outreach Program (SFTOP). The San Francisco Teen Outreach Program (SFTOP), based at the Jewish Community Center San Francisco (JCCSF) is funded by the Jewish Community Federation (JCF) and Endowment Fund (JCEF) of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties and supported by the Bureau of Jewish Education's Jewish Teen Alliance (JTA)