Impact Boston FAQ

For general questions about dining, medical procedures, and life at Brandeis, please refer to our general FAQ.

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Who attends Impact Boston?

Impact Boston is open to Jewish teens entering grades 10-12 (current 9-11th graders).  Participants come from all over the country and the world.  We recommend Impact Boston for anyone interested in experiencing issues such as homelessness, poverty, developmental disability and aging first-hand through direct interaction with people faced with these challenges.  Impact Boston participants are excited, compassionate teens who value interpersonal relationships and are dedicated to service.

What does tuition include?

Tuition for Impact Boston includes housing on the campus of Brandeis University as well as all meals (kosher dining options available) on campus for the duration of the program.  There are several opportunities for teens to explore Boston, at which points teens have the chance to purchase their own food off-campus or use spending money to buy souvenirs or gifts for friends.  Tuition does not include transportation to and from Boston, although a shuttle is included for taking participants between Brandeis University and Boston Logan International Airport or the Route 128 Amtrak station.

What kind of service work will I be doing?

Impact Boston works exclusively with human service agencies that offer our teens a chance to spend significant time interacting and partnering with their client population. Our partners include organizations that work with people with developmental disabilities, people who are homeless or who have struggled with homelessness, teens who are organizing their communities for increased opportunity, and families living in public housing projects.

Service work at Impact Boston includes working with people at these organizations on projects such as community gardening, food and nutrition issues, art projects and mutual learning projects. We also emphasize the power of simple conversation- sharing stories, getting to know one another and learning about similarities between people from very different backgrounds.

How are the service sites determined?

Partner agencies are arranged throughout the year by the Impact Boston Director.  As the summer gets closer, registered participants will receive a survey via e-mail where they can identify what their top choices for placement are.  Impact Boston does its best to place participants in one of their top choices of organizations.

How many community service hours will I earn?

Participants at Impact Boston receive 40 hours of community service for their time spent on the program.

Who staffs Impact Boston?

Impact Boston’s senior staff includes full-time professionals from Brandeis University’s Office of High School Programs and full-time professionals from BBYO. Our residential staff are some of the finest rabbinical students, Jewish educators, and community organizers from across the country and the world who have experience working with teens and engaging in meaningful, hands-on service opportunities.

What is the staff to teen ratio?

The staff to teen ratio at Impact Boston is approximately 1: 8, with each site group having 8-12 teen participants and one site educator.  Impact Boston also has a Director and Associate Director.

Does it matter if I have never done a BBYO or PANIM trip in the past?

No! Impact Boston is a great opportunity for anyone, regardless of past BBYO or PANIM experience. 

What is the Jewish observance expectation?

Impact Boston is a pluralistic experience, meaning that participants come from a variety of backgrounds.  Shabbat is celebrated as a community over the course of the program, services, meals, and activities that are in the spirit of Shabbat. There is no official denomination or style of Jewish observance at Impact Boston. We try to make Shabbat an experience that offers all participants and staff members a chance to express their Judaism in a way that is comfortable and meaningful.

Are there scholarships available?

Yes! To apply for scholarship, please apply via the BBYO office.