IFYC Coach Program


IFYC prepares Coaches to bridge diverse worldviews both on campus as students and off campus when they graduate into their respective fields. America’s religious diversity offers a unique opportunity for cooperation, and we think students are the precise changemakers to seize that opportunity.  
 
If more clergy were interfaith leaders, people experiencing homelessness would have refuge in the winter because diverse religious communities would work together to make their worship spaces centers for warmth. If medical professionals were interfaith leaders, patients would receive the attention they need when their religious beliefs come into contact with matters of life and death. If social workers were interfaith leaders, they could create collaborative solutions that keep nursing homes from closing. If journalists were interfaith leaders, we’d have more hopeful stories about the many ways we manage our differences productively. If government officials were interfaith leaders, we would better navigate the tension between church and state when diverse values come into tension. 
 
In short, we would be better for it if interfaith cooperation was a social norm.  

Apply here

Benefits of the Coach Program 

Students in the Coach Program receive IFYC’s highest level of training, providing a set of skills that will be helpful both as a student and beyond graduation. No matter what walk of life, it’s important to know how to build relationships across diverse values and worldviews in order to bring out the best possible civic good. Coaches will acquire the knowledge, skill set, and confidence to do so. Beyond top-notch leadership development and a boost to your résumé, here are other benefits of the program: 

  •  $500 to support your campus interfaith work 
  • Two all-expense-paid trips to Chicago, including food, lodging, and visits to religious sites and civic actions hubs throughout the city 
  • Yearlong support from an IFYC staff member  
  • Opportunity to train and be a peer mentor at our Interfaith Leadership Institute 
  • Last but not least, many Coaches cite their deep sense of community among their Coach cohort as the most meaningful part of the program

 

Training Details

Student leaders in the Coach Program attend two unique training experiences in Chicago. The content sits at the cross-sections of interfaith cooperation, leadership development, community organizing, and campus diversity work more broadly:

  • How to Have Difficult Conversations about Diverse Values
  • Storytelling and Media Training for Interfaith Leadership
  • Team-Building Techniques for Campus Organizing
  • Leadership Self-Care: Nurturing Personal Grit and Grace
  • The Basic Principles of Powerful 1:1s (And How to Do Them)
  • The Things No One Teaches You: Meeting Agenda and Email Tips
  • Mastery: The Art of Learning from the Past and Innovating Into the Future
  • Intersectionality and Interfaith
  • Interfaith After Graduation
  • The Art of Effective Facilitation

In addition to training modules, Coaches will receive knowledge of religious literacy and civic engagement through experiential learning, travelling to different sites and encountering prominent interfaith leaders throughout Chicago.

Requirements & Eligibility

It is preferred that applicants have attended an ILI or IFYC regional gathering, but don’t let that stop you from applying if you’ve had other experiences that would make you a good fit for the Program. Just let us know what they are!

The Coach Program lasts a full year from January 2020 through December 2020, so Coaches must be active undergraduate students in good standing for the full calendar year and cannot be studying abroad in calendar year 2020*.

Students must be available for travel to Chicago on the following dates (costs covered by IFYC):

  • January 23rd - 26th, 2020: Winter Coach Orientation
  • August 2nd-6th, 2020: Spring Coach Training
  • August 7th - 9th, 2020: Interfaith Leadership Institute

*With prior discussion, exceptions can be made for short study abroad programs

Apply for the Coach Program

Applications for the 2020 Coach class open on August 1st and will remain open until 11:59 on October 2nd, 2019. If you have any questions regarding the Coach Program or applications, email Hannah Minks at hannahm@ifyc.org. Otherwise, start your application and be prepared with:

  • Examples of your past experiences with interfaith work
  • What of your own worldview motivates your desire for interfaith cooperation
  • Challenges and successes you’ve encountered as it relates to religious pluralism
  • A headshot to be uploaded with your application

NOTE: It’s best to complete the application in one sitting because the screen times out. However, if this happens you can email Hannah at the address above to retrieve a link to your partial application and pick up where you left off.

Apply here

Yaa Baker

Baptist

Yaa is a sophomore Religion major at the University of Rochester who works as an interfaith intern facilitating interfaith events and dialogue for students in her school's chapel. Her Baptist faith tradition leads her to interfaith work by the...

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Yaa is a sophomore Religion major at the University of Rochester who works as an interfaith intern facilitating interfaith events and dialogue for students in her school's chapel. Her Baptist faith tradition leads her to interfaith work by the command “love thy neighbor.” Yaa hopes to spread and encourage love amongst her neighbors of diverse faith traditions through her interfaith work. When Yaa is not planning interfaith programming, she is probably cooking something that she saw on Instagram.  

Sohini Bhatia

Hindu

Sohini was born and brought up in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She has studied in Hindu, Islamic, Secular and Christian based schools, which has exposed her to many faiths since childhood. These experiences have allowed her to increase her...

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Sohini was born and brought up in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She has studied in Hindu, Islamic, Secular and Christian based schools, which has exposed her to many faiths since childhood. These experiences have allowed her to increase her religious literacy and enabled her to find and grow in her own faith. Growing up in a household that emphasized service, she witnessed the struggles that other people go through. As she grew up, her faith was one thing that gave her hope for a better future and she believes that interfaith work can have a massive impact in the world. Sohini is currently a freshman at Mount Holyoke College hoping to pursue a study in Architecture. She began her interfaith journey on campus through connecting with various faith groups and hopes that she will be able to advocate for interfaith accommodations and inclusivity. Sohini enjoys having food-for-thought conversations, reading books, dancing and making art. She is thrilled to be part of the IFYC Coach program and hopes that she can use the knowledge and skills gathered there to build a better tomorrow, with everyone. 

Andrew “Bones” Chambers

Spiritual But Not Religious

Bones (he/him/his) is from San Antonio, Texas and attends Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. He is a sophomore studying Psychology and Art. His passion for interfaith work began when he had a conversation with a fellow student and...

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Bones (he/him/his) is from San Antonio, Texas and attends Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas. He is a sophomore studying Psychology and Art. His passion for interfaith work began when he had a conversation with a fellow student and realized that “Everyone should feel safe, accepted, and valid on campus.” Andrew is the co-President of TLU’s first Interfaith Outreach Program that he and one of his best friends started together. He loves music and going to sports events with his friends. He is passionate about spreading love and happiness to all. 

Alyssa Coffey

Jewish

Alyssa (Al) is a third-year student at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts concentrating in religion and American studies.  Raised as a Jew in an interfaith family, she has been exposed to different religious traditions from an early...

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Alyssa (Al) is a third-year student at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts concentrating in religion and American studies.  Raised as a Jew in an interfaith family, she has been exposed to different religious traditions from an early age.  Her commitment to interfaith work is rooted in her Judaism and formed by her studies.  As a founder of Hampshire College’s Multifaith Council, she believes that interfaith work is an important tool to increase religious literacy and create hospitable communities.  Al is a morning person, avid knitter, and member of Hampshire’s cross country, track, and trail running team. 

Iyleah Hernandez

Catholic-in-Making

Iyleah was born in Chicago and raised an agnostic atheist. While attending Dominican University and expanding her knowledge of religious and worldview identities, Iyleah made the exciting decision to undergo RCIA to become a member of the...

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Iyleah was born in Chicago and raised an agnostic atheist. While attending Dominican University and expanding her knowledge of religious and worldview identities, Iyleah made the exciting decision to undergo RCIA to become a member of the Catholic Church. She is a rising junior double majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science as well as continuing as an Interfaith Intern at her University Ministry. As a Republican growing up in a Democratic area, the messages of inclusion and bridge-building across difference motivate Iyleah to do interfaith work. In her free time, Iyleah loves to play pool and drive around Chicago with her brother listening to music and exploring the city. 

Mikel Kendrick

Spiritualist

Mikel studies Acting at Oklahoma City University. He is a naturally curious person, often thinking about the world around him and how we all function in it. He loves any opportunity to learn and experience a piece of the world he hasn’t seen...

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Mikel studies Acting at Oklahoma City University. He is a naturally curious person, often thinking about the world around him and how we all function in it. He loves any opportunity to learn and experience a piece of the world he hasn’t seen yet. His worldview models that, as he classifies himself as a Spiritualist. On campus, he is a member of the Better Together Committee and assists with planning interfaith-related events while also evaluating the interfaith needs for his campus. Interfaith work is important to him because he cherishes forming new relationships with the people around him and allowing them room to grow beyond the superficial level. When he’s not busy with school work, he loves to spend time his time hanging out with friends, going out to find local live music, and eating. 

Parker Niles

Seeking

Parker is a first-year student at Oberlin College and an intended Religion major. While he was raised in the New Church influenced by the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, at the moment does not subscribe to any faith label as he believes that...

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Parker is a first-year student at Oberlin College and an intended Religion major. While he was raised in the New Church influenced by the writings of Emmanuel Swedenborg, at the moment does not subscribe to any faith label as he believes that all worldviews carry wisdom and usefulness. His real passion for interfaith work began when he attended the Parliament of the World's Religions in 2018. At the Parliament in Toronto, he saw how interfaith work from both religious and secular communities can help to create change on a global and local scale. He understood that religious literacy and interfaith relationships can help build a more compassionate society. On campus, he is working to create more student awareness about the intersection of queer and faith-based identities and get more connected with the local community in these efforts through religious institutions and secular non-profits. Outside of the classroom, Parker enjoys playing tennis, writing poetry, traveling, grabbing a coffee before class, and trying new foods in whatever city he's in.  

Ashley Procanyn

Lutheran

Ashley identifies as a Lutheran, currently discerning her call for apostleship. Interfaith work for her is important because she believes that we are stronger as people in diverse community together. She’s an officer for her university’s Multi-...

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Ashley identifies as a Lutheran, currently discerning her call for apostleship. Interfaith work for her is important because she believes that we are stronger as people in diverse community together. She’s an officer for her university’s Multi-Faith & Belief Student Council at Colorado State University-Fort Collins and works alongside students, university faculty, and faith & belief partners of the Fort Collins community to form stronger interfaith conversation and cooperation on campus among the student body. In her free-time, Ashley enjoys staying at home with a hot cup of tea and a new book or spending all day outside exploring new hiking trails.  

Jaquay Thomas

Christian

Jaquay is a junior at McMurry University in Abilene Texas double majoring in sociology and psychology, as well as the president of Better Together Alliance. He’s planning to pursue graduate school after graduation and receive a Master’s in...

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Jaquay is a junior at McMurry University in Abilene Texas double majoring in sociology and psychology, as well as the president of Better Together Alliance. He’s planning to pursue graduate school after graduation and receive a Master’s in Sociology. Jaquay grew up in Magnolia, Texas and is excited to bring religious pluralism to his local community and government through his interfaith leadership on campus in order to strengthen ties among people of different values in the Abilene community.