Yahel Social Change Program
Yahel Social Change Program is a unique 9-month service learning experience for young adults between the ages of 21 and 27. The program, combines hands-on volunteer work with in-depth learning and immersion. Participants work with a variety of populations including Arab-Israelis and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union in the city of Lod, as well as Ethiopian Israelis in the Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon LeZion.
Yahel participants explore Israel by living, learning and volunteering alongside their peers from the local Israeli community. Yahel and its participants make meaningful contributions to Israeli society by working in collaboration with grassroots organizations and programs working in the local community in the fields of empowerment and education.
The core of the Yahel Social Change Program is volunteer work. Participants work side by side with volunteers and staff – joining ongoing work in the following projects:
Academic Assistance and Tutoring:
-Assisting English teachers in a formal school setting as well as working with students in afternoon learning centers.
-Tutoring students in English as part of the ‘Homework at Home’ academic assistance program run by Friends By Nature organization, as well as other programs.
-Interning in the office of Tebeka (an Ethiopian-Israeli legal rights organization), assisting in writing grants, social media, development and more.
-Empowering Arab-Israeli women with Na’am.
-Assisting Jindas in the field of urban renewal.
-Minimizing social gaps through technology with Machshava Tova.
-Working together with local residents in a community garden in the neighborhood.
-Taking part in facilitating recreational and educational activities for at-risk youth in the neighborhood.
The learning component is an integral part of the Yahel Social Change Program and touches on many aspects of the experience:
-Contextual Learning: Participants will learn about the complexity of social, religious, economic and other issues faced by residents of Lod and Ramat Eliyahu in particular, and in Israel in general.
-Jewish Learning: Yahel’s Jewish learning curriculum engages participants with some of the core ethical questions related to their service experience. Using both ancient and modern Jewish texts, this component is conducted in a pluralistic Beit Midrash setting, in small groups or in chevruta (pairs).
-Cross-cultural training: Facilitates the integration of participants into their host community.
-Reflection: Reflection is essential to the experiential education model and will be facilitated in a variety of formats – individually, in groups, in written form, verbally and silently.
-Participants will meet with major Israeli change-makers, community members, activists and experts from different fields. In addition, Yahel staff members will lead group discussions and support participants’ individual learning throughout the experience.
-Community: Throughout the program the participants will be based in Ramat Eliyahu where they will live, learn and volunteer. The relatively small size of the group (10-12 participants) is conducive to the creation of personal ties and enables activities with peer groups.
-Host Families: Participants will be paired with host families from the community, who will invite them for meals, family events and sometimes holidays.
Travel and Seminars
The Yahel Social Change Program includes day trips as well as three seminars and additional weekend trips . These trips are an opportunity to experience Israel off the beaten track, witness social change initiatives around the country, relax, and have fun.
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