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!
Assessing Refugee Needs to Improve Our Programs
As summer is heating up, so are TYO's efforts to create the best possible programs for disadvantaged women and children in Nablus. One way we are achieving this goal is through our commitment to identifying and meeting the needs of the community.
“I can clearly see in my students’ work the need to create a safe, welcoming space in my classroom where students feel that they can have fun learning and thinking critically about the world around them through artwork. Insh’Allah, I can make this happen.” -Hannah, TYO Intern, Nablus
Last week TYO released its Community Needs Assessment, a yearlong study to assess the needs of the four refugee camps and other underprivileged communities TYO serves. Partners and representatives from the public and private sectors were invited to share and discuss the results, which were compiled from over 400 individuals using diverse methods. These results give TYO teachers and interns insight into the needs of different age groups, such as room to play or better computer literacy, to help them tailor their programs and have an even greater impact. This assessment will help TYO improve its programming, but more importantly, it illustrated the impact we are already having. Our core child program gives children the creative play space they need, and our women’s group programs offer both respite and opportunity for moms. Interns also remarked that the findings emphasized the link between mothers and children, reinforcing the power of TYO’s multigenerational strategy and the impact that its programs have on families throughout Nablus. With your continued support, we can continue to bring these families the best educational and recreational programming to keep them happy and healthy.
Welcome New Interns!
As TYO’s students are getting into the full swing of summer, so are our newest interns! Meet Sarah, Hilary, Jay, Mitch, Mary-Jo, and Hannah! From California to Connecticut, they’ve come from across the country to improve the lives of women and children in Palestine’s most disadvantaged areas. After just a few short weeks, they’ve been adjusting to life in Palestine, studying and integrating our Community Needs Assessment, and realizing first-hand the value of the resources TYO provides. With backgrounds and interests as diverse as the women and children they’ll be working with, we’re sure they’ll be making amazing contributions both to TYO and to the Nablus community. We also recently welcomed three new interns at our administrative headquarters in Washington, DC: Elly, Maddie, and Rachel. Welcome everyone!
What’s the best way to make a child smile this spring? By making a mother’s day on Mother’s Day! Spread the joys of spring by making a contribution to support disadvantaged children in Palestine and enterprising mothers in Lebanon. With generous donations of $50 and above, you will receive a note card set of five cards featuring gorgeous watercolor scenes from historic Jerusalem!
As quickly as it came, the spring semester is just about behind us. As we prepare for the oncoming heat waves of summer, TYO takes a moment to reflect on the joys of spring in Nablus.
“My students face barriers that seem insurmountable; they have encountered violence, hunger, an indifferent education, and more. They carry burdens too heavy for adults, while they are still children. As such, my moments of greatest triumph this session have been witnessing my students reclaim childhood.” – Karen Campion, TYO Fellow, Princeton University International ReachOut Fellow
Nothing says spring has sprung like a trip to Beita Amusement Park just outside of Nablus! This year, students celebrated the last day of the spring session with a visit to a fun-filled playland on the outskirts of Nablus. For many, this was their first trip to an amusement park and they were thrilled! It’s not hard to imagine the joy in their eyes as they raced to the locomotives and Ferris wheels and enjoyed frolicking in the fresh mountain air. Trips like this visit to Beita help incentivize attendance and encourage participation by all children in the Core Child Program.
The kids got active and became activists this spring, racing and recycling for TYO’s Racing the Planet challenge! Beginning on May 12, 2012, ultramarathon runner Usama Malik will race a staggering 156-miles across Jordan to raise $50K in 50 Days in support of TYO’s Core Child Program. To get students involved, this spring, TYO held a series of Racing the Planet games aimed at exposing children to physical activity and environment-friendly initiatives in Nablus. From three-legged races to balloon-popping fun, children learned the value of sportsmanship and teamwork with a dose of competition during the games. At the end of the day, every team was a winning team from “best spirit” to “most enthusiastic” to “fastest racers.” Students also learned how to turn trash to treasures, working on ten different projects designed to create things such as flowers from plastic bags, pencil holders from cans, candleholders from milk cartons, and many more. Students practiced resourcefulness, critical thinking, creativity, and patience. Check out more on the $50K in 50 Days campaign challenge with Usama’s video-blogging!
True to spring, blossoms bloom and seeds are planted as TYO bids farewell to spring interns and welcomes new! As all good things come to a close, TYO’s interns, participants in the International Internship Program, wrapped up their time in Nablus with heartfelt reflections. See what they had to say! And don’t forget to check out what TYO’s newest intern Asma had to say about her arrival in Nablus. Asma is a Palestinian-American earning her Masters in Public Policy at Harvard University. Asma will be teaching an Oral History class to 10-12 year olds as well as a Professional Competency class to students at An-Najah University.
“This is what makes TYO special – its unique position to help children discover their strengths and passions.” - Asma, TYO intern, Masters in Public Policy, Harvard University
This spring, your contribution will go a long way towards brightening the smiles of Palestinian child refugees and Lebanese women entrepreneurs in need. TYO thanks you for your support!
Today, March 14th, 2012, GlobalGiving will match one donation per donor at 30% on behalf of GlobalGiving and an exponential sum on behalf of the wonderful donors like yourself that contribute to GlobalGiving projects.
What does that mean? For every donation a TYO donor makes to support child refugees, GlobalGiving will match nearly a third of that donation directly to TYO’s campaign! So if you give $100 or $1,000 today, you could make a $130 or $1,300 net impact on child refugees in Nablus!
Last year, this initiative raised over $800,000 for GlobalGiving partners like TYO and we hope you can contribute to make this campaign a smashing success for the children of Nablus!
Over the past month, the children of the TYO Core Child Program have been undertaking a variety of new subjects and activities as we enter into the Spring session. Take a peek inside the classrooms with the kids of TYO!
ON THE STAGE
Students took to the stage in Jawad’s Drama class creating scenes of life in Palestine and expressing a range of emotions, motions, and commotion never before experienced in the classroom. Students were able to increase self-awareness, self-confidence, coordination, and public speaking while working in an environment that fostered creativity and imagination from each child.
“One such success story involves a child named Hama. People thought that he was unable to talk. Slowly, he started to participate in drama activities and began to express himself. Now, he has the voice to talk and express how he feels with the other children.”
–Jawad, Drama Instructor
IN THE LAB
When things go BOOM! in the TYO classroom, it’s usually a sign all is well. At least that was the case this month as students worked to build volcanoes in their science lab, learning about acids, bases, and combustibles in volcanic eruptions as well as the properties of the slippery substance “Gluep.” None of the wide-eyed students had EVER had the thrill, pleasure, and enriching educational experience of conducting a lab experiment in class before, much less with vinegar and baking soda or corn starch and water as their investigative instruments. Needless to say the science lab in our critical thinking class left students positively erupting with shrieks of joy and excitement the whole day long!
“All of these science projects not only solidify concepts that my students may learn in school textbooks, but they also allow them to have experiences that they never imagined possible.”
-Clare, TYO Teaching Fellow
AT THE PLAYGROUND
In schools around the world, what’s a child’s favorite time of the day? RECESS! As more than two-thirds of the children TYO serves don’t get the opportunity to get out and play at sports or recreational activity, one of the core values of the program is to instill teamwork and physical activity into their daily routines. Children get the chance to expend energy, build strategy, and join together as a class with fun games and activities on the playground. Games like “The Escaping Hula-Hoop” and “Numbers Race” become classroom favorites the children carry home and into their neighborhoods with other local children.
“I hope that I have helped these children to develop a healthy and creative approach to life, as well as personalities that will allow them to be creative and productive members of their families and communities, despite the tough environment that they live in.”
–Haitham, Sports Instructor
AROUND THE STORY-TELLING CIRCLE
One of TYO’s most important contributions to the community is a multicultural environment where people from different backgrounds, ethics and religions can interact with each other and hear other people’s stories. Therapeutic storytelling forms an avenue by which children are able to communicate with one another, with TYO staff, as well as with their families and communities about the experiences they must face on a daily basis. In this way, children are able to process their experiences and translate them into productive and cathartic stories through which they find release and a safe outlet.
“Although we are individuals, our stories are all connected and related. There is no better place to explore the individual and cultural sources of narrative than at a multicultural center like Tomorrow’s Youth Organization.”
– Suhad, Psychosocial Program Manager
So as we move ahead into a promising Spring with the children of TYO’s Core Program, in addition to our thriving International Internship Program and Youth Development projects, we ask that you might pause to make a contribution, however large or small on GlobalGiving’s Bonus Day, March 14, 2012. The earliest donations stand the greatest chance of impact, so start your morning off right and give a little to change a lot for the youth of Nablus!
TYO thanks you in advance for your continued support!
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