This interview is part of the Yahel Alumni Spotlight Series, where we catch up with past Yahel Alumni to hear about their experience with Yahel and what they’re up to now.
It’s been 7 months since alumnus Isaac Stockdale left Israel after 9 months of volunteering with Yahel. He is an alumnus of the Yahel Social Change Fellowship '16-'17. We recently caught up with Isaac to hear about his experiences on Yahel and how he has seen Yahel's impact since the program ended.
Yahel: Tell us about yourself. Who are you?
Isaac: II am 24 years old and I grew up Seattle, WA. I attended the University of Washington, graduating in 2015. I love the outdoors and I am usually looking to get into the mountains any chance I can get, to go skiing or hiking. I am also an avid traveler and love getting to see new places and meet new people.
Y: So Isaac, what are you up to now?
Isaac: Pursuing a JD at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Y: What did you do while serving as a Yahel Social Change Fellow?
I: I lived in Ramat Eliyahu in Rishon Lezion. I tutored three students from Ramat Eliyahu through our Homework at Home program. When the students had homework we would work on that, but most of the time I would come up with English exercises for us to do. I always tried to be creative and use English material that they were interested in, like sports, music and/or American culture. Additionally, I was one of the leaders of a program at the Ramat Eliyahu Matnas (community center), where we used outdoors training and activities to teach the kids life skills. We had two groups of kids and we did a wide variety of activities with them, including: rock climbing, camping, cooking, biking, etc. It was a lot of fun and it was amazing to see the growth in the kids throughout our time together. I also worked as an assistant English teacher at the local high school (Makif Yud). Most of my time was spent working with the students in small groups and sometimes as a whole class to prepare for their national Bagrut exams. However, I also organized and led a series of discussions and debates on topics relating to the English-speaking world.
Y: What was your biggest take-away from the program?
I: My biggest take away from Yahel is understanding how much can be accomplished when you approach your work with flexibility, achieve your goals with humility, and communicate to others through your actions and work ethic. Even though, I spoke very little Hebrew, I feel that I was still able to achieve a lot during my time as a Yahel Fellow, and that was in large part, because I worked with fantastic people and I positioned myself mentally and physically to be a useful part of the teams that I was working in. The flexibility and creativity that I used in my work during the Yahel Social Change Fellowship is something that will always be with me.
Y: What was your favorite Yahel moment?
I: My favorite moment was sitting with the English teachers at the Makif Yud graduation ceremony and watching the students, almost half of whom I had worked with, walk across the stage. It was a beautiful and sad moment, because I knew how hard all of them had worked and I also knew that my time as their teacher was coming to an end. It was a wonderful evening though.
Y: Why did you choose to do the Yahel Fellowship?
I: I chose the Yahel Social Change Fellowship because I wanted to contribute in a substantive way to Israeli society and I wanted to invest myself and my time in the people of Israel. Israel is a very complicated place, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are still plenty of people living their lives who just need some help and I wanted to spend my time and effort, working in my own way to help those people and Yahel gave me a platform to do just that.
Thank you, Isaac! We are looking forward to your visit to Israel this spring, but in the meantime, we wish you the best of luck during your first year of law school.