With the fall session halfway over and the Thanksgiving season rapidly upon us, here at TYO we’re pausing to give thanks for yet another successful season of programming- a feat that wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our friends like you. From English classes for our youngest students to the revival of our popular Triple Exposure Photography classes for our oldest, TYO continues to refine and develop its schedule to ensure we are providing our children with unique and meaningful avenues through which they can re-discover open expression and find themselves in their emotions. In particular, this session students have been learning about the importance of developing their perceptions of identity and place within their community. These topics were selected to expose children the idea that they are valuable in- and responsible for- their community, which boosts their own sense of belonging.
Staying true to its mission, TYO’s commitment to enhancing the community goes far beyond the classroom. This fall, TYO’s dedicated international staff, interns, fellow, and volunteers lent some helping hands to area farmers, assisting with the annual olive harvest. TYO traveled to Nus Ijbeil- a small village about 15 minutes north of Nablus- and was placed with a family courtesy of Cannan- a fair trade company that helps bring Palestinian products to market across the US and Europe. Olive byproducts are one of the mainstays of the Palestinian economy and harvesting is an extra tedious manual process, so the extra hands were greatly appreciated!
Here’s a few snapshots from this fall:
International Interns and Fellows: This fall, 6 interns from Canada, England, and the United States joined the team at TYO- Zak, Cynthia, Rosie, Jessica, Noah, and Rachel. During their time here, the interns have been extra busy, leading creative, action-filled classes that serve kids from TYO's target areas, teaching English classes to preschool children in TYO’s Core program, and conducting health, fitness, and IT classes for TYO’s Women’s Group.
TYO has also been pleased to host our very first Zahi Khouri Fellow, Reema. The Zahi Khouri Fellowship Program provides Palestinian American students and graduates the experience of professional development in Palestine at TYO. Amongst other things, Reema has been working closely with teachers in the Core program to implement TYO’s pilot English language learning program for young children.
Core Child Program: This fall, TYO’s passionate and vibrant group of Core teachers have been placing extra emphasis on the role of community in order to help our children value their individual qualities and the qualities of those around them. Daily, our children confront issues such as domestic violence, neglect, and physical and emotional forms of punishment. They come to TYO feeling as though they are not “worth it.” They have not been taught to appreciate their self-worth, and they have not been given the tools to improve their self-image. Through psychosocial-focused lesson plans and activities, we aim to prove to our children that they are worth it.
Youth Service Learning: Earlier this fall, TYO was proud to honor one of our dedicated volunteers with the second annual Youth Service Learning Scholarship. Salah Khateeb, who is currently a student at Al-Quds Open University, explains how working with TYO has allowed him to further develop his personal and professional skills. “I couldn’t imagine myself standing in front of a large group to give a presentation, but TYO has helped me develop my communication and presentation skills,” he says. His experience at TYO has also taught him how to be patient, especially with children, “I can now say that I know how to control myself with children and how to deal with them, which has reflected on my life in general.”
Stay tuned for next session’s updates, and on behalf of refugee children of Nablus, thanks for your continued support!
Earlier in the season, we asked if you were going to the pool this summer- because our kids at TYO wanted to go, too! And thanks to friends like you, refugee children in Nablus were able to dive right into a summer of fun and non-formal education- which, of course, included several smile-filled field trips to the swimming pool. In the words of Core Program Teacher Mohammed Albukibash, "The pool was a great opportunity for the kids- it was the first time most of them had ever been swimming in a place like that, and they were so excited to have such a spacious area to play."
But in addition to diving boards and backstrokes, TYO’s summer session made a real splash in multiple ways- whether it was Core Program kids expressing themselves in drama class or an international intern working alongside local volunteers, the past three months of programming brought immense impact and memories likely to last for quite a long time.
Here’s a few snapshots from this summer:
International Interns: This summer, 7 interns from the United States joined the team at TYO- Eleanor, Kyra, Emma, Jenna, Jessica, Debra, and Elizabeth. During their time here, the interns led a creative, action-filled summer camp that served kids from TYO's target areas, instructed university students in professional competency at An Najah National University, and taught English classes to preschool children at the American Corner in the nearby town of Salfeet.
Core Child Program: With field trips to the soccer stadium and the park, Core Child Program certainly dove into a summer of fun- but the excitement was supplemented with the benefits of non-formal education. This session, Core Program kids enjoyed classes in IT, Health, Drama, Sport, and more- all while learning about self-expression, identity, resilience, and healthy communication. Highlights of the summer included a visit from a local circus, learning about identity during World Refugee Day, and performing a special song for the VIP guests at TYO's 5 Year Anniversary event.
Youth Service Learning: After undergoing trainings on topics like psychosocial work and translation skills, TYO volunteers took their skills into the classroom, supporting TYO Core Program teachers and international interns. Like Maysoon, pictured below, volunteers helped students with activities like reading and running around at the soccer field- while also sharpening their own professional skills and classroom management abilities, which they can take into their communities long after the session’s ended.
Our Spring session has come to an end. In just eight weeks of programming, our interns formed friendships and bonds with TYO local staff and beneficiaries. In January we warmly welcomed three new interns this session - Alex, Danish and Emily. From Wisconsin, the UK and Pennsylvania respectively, the interns came all the way to Nablus to improve the lives of community members in Palestine’s most disadvantaged areas. They taught IT, fitness and photography to participants in The Women's Group, soccer for boys and girls, English classes for TYO's businesswomen and Professional Competency courses at An-Najah University. It was a busy eight weeks for this group but it was so rewarding!
"The time may have come for me to leave Nablus, but I’m certainly not leaving empty-handed. Of course I’ll arrive at the airport with my bags in hand but more delicately I’ll hold onto the faces and words of gratitude that have permanently planted themselves in my memories."- Emily, TYO intern, Spring 2013
"TYO and its programs will continue, and the incredible people I met here will stay, committed to improving the lives of those in need in Nablus. I’m just glad I got to be a part of it."-Alex, TYO intern, Spring 2013
"I could never have envisioned that I would have learnt so much in so little time. If organisations like TYO continue to provide these women and children with these fantastic opportunities and continue to cultivate them into change makers for their society then I am sure the future of Nablus, Palestine can be a lot different to its present. I am leaving Nablus with the fondest of memories and friendships that I will never forget."-Danish, TYO intern, Spring 2013
Happy New Year from the TYO teams in Nablus and DC!
As we reflect on an amazing year of education programming, we would like to salute our amazing local volunteers who generously gave their time in TYO classrooms in 2012. Our volunteers come from local universities in Nablus and spend up to 10 hours a week supporting teachers and international interns in early childhood and youth education classrooms. They receive training from staff in TYO's psychosocial support methods as well as leadership and communications skills. Here are three reflections from some of TYO star volunteers in their own words: "I have learned how to deal with children and how to respect their needs which is something we lack in this community. Traditionally in Palestine, children are brought into a system where the child comes last but at TYO, the child always comes first. I also learned how to be part of a team with the teachers and other volunteers."---Jihan is 22 years old and a current volunteer at TYO. She is a junior junior studying Financial and Banking in Al-Quds Open University in Nablus. "My favorite class thus far has been the sport class because I love sports and the kids love it too – especially when they play outside. My favorite moment at TYO was when I was honored at the volunteer ceremony. I felt that I was doing a good job and my efforts were appreciated. It was a great feeling." ---Ahmad is 21 years old, originally from Jenin, Palestine and a current volunteer at TYO. "Before coming to TYO, my personality was weak. I couldn’t look people in the eyes while speaking and now, I am more courageous when I’m talking socially with friends, and even with strangers." ---Amani is 30 years old, from Jamma’en, a small town outside of Nablus, and a current volunteer at TYO.
We are extermely grateful for your support. Please stay tuned to the TYO blog and Facebook page for our most recent updates.
Summer has come to an end, which means its back to school time again!
This year, we're celebrating with a like drive on Facebook. For the next 29 days one dollar will be donated to TYO for each new like of the TYO profile page! Please help us reach our goal of 1,000 new likes by liking our page and sharing it with your friends.
This session we welcome Megan, Mary, Tommy and Lila for the Fall 2012 session. To prepare for their first day of classes today, last week they went through a rigorous but exciting orientation.
Last week’s orientation was packed with many different activities, including: lessons on culture and life in Nablus, professionalism and time management training with TYO Center Director Humaira, a debriefing on TYO’s impact on disadvantaged children women in Nablus with Psychosocial Program Manager Suhad Jabi Masri, exercises on how to foster trust and teamwork with volunteers with whom they will be co-teaching, and to end the week a gorgeous hike through Wadi Qelt near Jericho. After a week of new information and training the interns are all set for their first day of class today. Stay tuned for updates on how the first day of Fall 2012 kicked off, but for now please help me in welcoming our newest interns!
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