Leadership Initiative for Volunteers


A year-long service-learning program for high school juniors and seniors in Central Ohio.

The Wexner Service Corps (WSC) is a year-long Jewish service-learning program for high school juniors and seniors in Columbus, Ohio. WSC, created with inspiration from Hannah Wexner, is designed to educate and unite Jewish teens through community service and connecting to their shared Jewish texts and tradition. Each year, WSC accepts about 30 students from a diverse cross-section of the Jewish community.

During the 2024-2025 school year, WSC members will participate in local monthly service-learning events starting in September and then, if eligible, participate in a multi-day service trip to a location outside of Columbus in June 2025. Previous cohorts traveled to New York, New Orleans, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Houston, and Indianapolis.

Program Overview

Additional volunteering opportunities could include coordinating with local organizations on disaster relief, working with children from low-income backgrounds, building and maintaining community gardens, cooking and preparing food for soup kitchens, and running programs for adults with developmental disabilities. While the current pandemic has certainly placed limitations on our ability to serve the community, our service reflects the needs of the moment, whether that be in-person or virtual. During both the year-round component and service trip, WSC members study Jewish texts and contemporary sources, discuss issues related to social justice and community service and participate in experiential learning activities.

To kick off the WSC experience and start the year on a strong note, there will be a full-day, local orientation/kickoff events in August 2024.

Through the generosity of Leslie and Abigail Wexner and The Wexner Foundation, all expenses will be paid.

Dara Katzner,
Program Coordinator
Rabbi Sharon Barr Skolnik, Director

Applications for WSC are currently closed. If you’re interested in applying for the 2025-2026 school year, please fill out this brief form to be notified when applications open in 2025.


To apply for the Wexner Service Corps, applicants must be:

  • Columbus-area Jewish teens
  • Entering either 11th or 12th Grade in the 2024-2025 Academic Year
  • Able to commit to participate in the Wexner Service Corps year-round program, which includes monthly service and learning for approximately 2-4 hours per session on Sundays and occasional weekday evenings in the Columbus area.

The Wexner Service Corps is competitive and selective. We encourage applicants to give appropriate thought and effort to their applications. All completed applications received by the deadline will be carefully reviewed.

Selection criteria includes:

  • Quality of application
  • Geographic and community diversity
  • Eagerness to engage in Jewish learning and exploration
  • Articulated interest in community service
  • Input from a reference

Any Questions?

Please contact Dara Katzner, Program Coordinator.


The application will include basic info and several essay questions (listed below). You will also be asked to create a one-minute video that answers a brief question.

1. Your Availability

What else are you involved in that might make it difficult to participate in WSC both during the academic year and during the trip? How would you make time for this experience?

2. Your Imagination

A toy company is making an action figure of you, and it comes with 2 accessories. What are your 2 accessories and why?

3. Your Recommendation

Think of a tv show, movie, or book that you love. Tell us why you love it and what that choice says about you.

4. Your Community Vision

Think about an issue in your community, school, the country, or the world that’s important to you. Tell us why.

5. Your Response to Text

Explain how the following Jewish text informs our individual responsibility to help others:

“Hillel used to say: If I am not for myself, who is for me? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” (Pirkei Avot 1:14)

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Wexner Service Corps (WSC)?

The Wexner Service Corps (WSC) is a service-learning initiative for Columbus Jewish teenagers. It launched with an inaugural New York Service Trip in June 2013. Wexner Service Corps members participated in hands-on Hurricane Sandy relief work while learning Jewish texts related to the value of service and reflecting on the work, its impact and the harsh reality of disasters. Since then, Columbus Jewish teens have cumulatively put in thousands of service hours into serving both the Columbus community and in New York, New Orleans, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Houston. The Wexner Service Corps was inspired by Hannah Wexner and it is generously supported by Leslie and Abigail Wexner and The Wexner Foundation.

How is WSC infused with Jewish practices?

We believe that service and Jewish learning are integral to Jewish life and identity. Jewish thought, text and questions will be the frame through which we’ll explore the work we’re doing and the feelings evoked by the experience. During the school year and on the summer trip, we will spend time reflecting on the work we have done through Jewish values in learning and discussion sessions. Corps members come from the spectrum of Jewish life in Columbus and learning from each other and developing Jewish friendships are among the core goals of the Corps. Any food provided to Corps members will be certified Kosher.

What is Jewish learning?

Jewish learning is the practice of studying both traditional Jewish texts and putting them into conversation with contemporary sources and articles, as well as secular texts that are learned through a Jewish lens, in order to inspire thoughtful conversation and reflection. We try to make all the learning interesting, inspiring and relevant to all WSC members regardless of skill level, prior experience or affiliation.

What are your COVID-19 vaccination policies?

The Wexner Foundation requires all members, fellows, faculty, and staff attending in-person events and institutes to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (as defined currently by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html) If accepted as a member of Wexner Service Corps, I understand that I may be required to show proof of up-to-date vaccination upon acceptance. If you have questions or concerns about this vaccination policy, please contact Dara Katzner at dkatzner@wexner.net.

What is the year-around service like?

In years past, all WSC participants have volunteered locally during monthly volunteer opportunities in Columbus, each paired with an opportunity for Jewish conversations and reflection. These events often take place on Sunday mornings, or early afternoons. There may also be multiple optional service experiences offered beyond our monthly mandatory events. Some organizations we’ve worked with in the past include Habitat for Humanity, KIPP Columbus, Wexner Heritage Village, Broad Street Food Pantry, Family Mentor Foundation, Central Ohio Furniture Bank, and Lifetown.

What if I am unable to participate in physical labor due to injury, disability, or any other reason?

We do our best to accommodate participants with a range of physical abilities. If you have questions about your ability to participate in physical labor, please contact us to discuss.

What if I have conflicts (e.g., extracurricular activities, family events, trips, etc.) and cannot fully commit to Sundays during the upcoming school year?

All monthly service events are mandatory. We will do our best to send out the schedule in advance so that you can plan accordingly. We understand that, occasionally, there are unavoidable conflicts which might necessitate missing part or all of an event. As soon as you are aware of a potential conflict, you should contact us directly. WSC members commit to missing no more than two service events that have been excused in advance. Our expectation is that you will make up any missed service hours on your own time.

What should Corps members wear during service events?

We advise Corps members to consider the Jewish value of tzniut (modesty and humility) which applies not only to the clothes we wear, but to the way we conduct ourselves in public places. Please wear clothing that will allow you to move freely while also being respectful of the environment. This could apply to baggy pants, sleeveless or low-cut tops, too-short shorts, etc. These same guidelines will apply to the summer trip as well.

What will the trip look like?

The Summer 2025 trip dates and location are still TBD. Participation in the trip will be not be mandatory. In years past, each day of the trip has included approximately six hours of service, followed by opportunities for Jewish conversations, learning about the issue areas, and reflection, bolstered by speakers from the communities and agencies where we will be working. In the evening, we both unwind and have fun. We are still finalizing the schedule but will share it with all current WSC members and parents once it’s ready. Our goal is to have several different types of service sites that will enable the Corps to employ different skills and tap into the diverse range of passions our members possess. Some of our past work has included home repairs, gardening/farming, educational programming for elementary school students, advocacy, mural painting, and park cleaning. All trip costs will be covered at The Foundation’s expense. Please note it is The Foundation's policy to exclusively serve Kosher food.

Who will be directing and accompanying the group on the trip?

The WSC is under the direction of Rabbi Sharon Barr Skolnik, Wexner Service Corps program director. Traditionally, there are madrichim (counselors), including experienced OSU students and/or Wexner Graduate Fellows (graduate students), educators who have benefited from The Wexner Foundation’s leadership development program.  Our partner agencies will also deploy staff at the work sites.