Diving Headfirst into Summer

The Core Program revitalized the building here in Nablus last week. The voices, cheer, excitement, and sheer wonder breathed air into the lungs of TYO. Their arrival marks only the beginning of our summer programming, however. This week, we’re back in rhythm and jumping right into a full schedule of classes and projects.

Of course, we’ve got a whole bunch of fresh faces in the building. A new crop of great interns has arrived, and having spent the past ten days or so orienting and acclimating, eyes wide and ears open, the seven of them are ready for business. They are eager and rearing to get started, teaching a wide scope of courses from nutritious cooking and women’s fitness to photography and critical thinking. They’re a diverse and talented group about to set off on an amazing journey. It looks to be another great session.

Today, we launched the first of our summer Field Days, effectively taking the TYO show on the road and out into the neighborhoods of the people we have served here at the TYO Center for the past three and a half years. Pulling together a dream team of sorts, including Core Program teachers, international interns, staff members, and university-student volunteers, we’ll be traveling throughout the summer to all the refugee camps of Nablus (as well as the Old City) to offer two hours of fun programming, every Monday, for all those children that might not be fortunate enough to attend TYO from week to week. The first day at Askar Refugee camp was great fun, allowing us to reach nearly two hundred new children and spread the TYO message far and wide.

In June, six university students from Students of the World (SOW) will join us in Nablus.  Their national team, volunteer film crew, comprised of members from universities across the United States, will spend a month with us in Nablus, documenting our new activities and foundational programs. (Check it out: SOW’s NYU chapter spent June 2009 with us and produced this wonderful video.) We are absolutely thrilled to have SOW back in the building.

The TYO-MEPI literacy program completed five trainings this month on a variety of topics, including Scholastic’s My Arabic library, leadership, volunteerism, education, and civic engagement. The program’s volunteer corps grew by an additional fifteen local volunteers and seven international interns. This summer, they will teach 220 children (ages 6 -12) how to read.

Triple Exposure is snapping away, homework help is packed four days a week, and the Midnight Football League is rocking out three nights a week. The soccer league added in two new age groups, including a mix-gendered league for the seven to ten year-olds of Khallet al-Amood. Maybe the next Mia Hamm is in our midst…

Busy times here in Nablus! And following all our May planning, it feels great to have the beating heart of the community back  in the building.

Welcome Summer 2011 Interns!

I am happy to introduce our Summer 2011 Interns! These recent graduates and young professionals bring an array of experiences to our team, and they will help TYO reach thousands of community members this summer.

Amy – Amy is graduating absentee in June from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Humanities. Her focus is creative writing and she hopes to teach community college upon her return to the United States. Prior to her postgraduate study, Amy worked as a Program Coordinator, organizing and leading talks and activities in Los Angeles schools, for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Amy will teach a creative thinking class as part of TYO’s Summer Camp, fitness for women, a soccer clinic for young kids and an evening English class for community members.

Tala – Tala has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware in International Relations. She spent this spring as an intern at TYO headquarters in McLean, VA. Tala is no stranger to the Middle East and has traveled extensively throughout the region. She will teach an arts and crafts class as part of TYO’s Summer Camp, a nutrition class for women, a soccer clinic for young kids and an evening English class for community members.

Alex – Alex is finishing a master’s degree from King’s College (UK) in Middle East Studies and holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Eastern Mediterranean Studies. Alex spent fall semester of her junior year at The American University in Cairo, during which time she taught English to the refugee population there. Alex will teach a creative thinking class as part of TYO’s Summer Camp, fitness for women, a soccer clinic for young kids and an evening English class for community members.

Cate – Cate has a bachelor’s degree from Duke University in Public Policy and Global Health. During her undergraduate years, Cate spent time working abroad mostly with communities in east and southern Africa.  This spring, Cate worked at a refugee resettlement and social services center in Boston. She is very excited to be in the Middle East for the first time. Cate will teach an arts and crafts class as part of TYO’s Summer Camp, a fitness class for women and English classes for TYO staff members.

Mark – Mark has a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University in International Affairs and Journalism. Last summer and fall, he studied Arabic in Lebanon and Syria respectively. In Syria, Mark taught English to Palestinian refugees. He is extremely excited to be back in the West Bank. Mark will teach basic photography as part of TYO’s Summer Camp, coach a soccer clinic for young kids and teenage boys, teach English classes for TYO staff members and assist with organizational social media efforts.

Megan – Megan holds a postgraduate certificate in International Project Management and a bachelor’s degree from The University of Guelph (Canada) in Sociology. In Canada, she worked as a Project Leader for Katimavik, a youth volunteer program. From August 2010 to April 2011, Megan worked at a progressive school in Bangkok, Thailand for kids ages five to eighteen. Megan will teach an arts and crafts class as part of TYO’s Summer Camp, a nutrition class for women and an evening English class for community members.

Samin – Samin has a master’s degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (UK) in Middle Eastern Politics and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland in Middle Eastern History. This spring, Samin interned at The Public Leadership Education Network and taught part-time at a local middle school. Samin will teach an English class as part of TYO’s Summer Camp, fitness for women, a soccer clinic for young kids and an evening English class for community members.

It is my pleasure to welcome this group to Nablus, and I look forward to all that they will contribute to our team!

- Chelsey

Chelsey is the International Internship Coordinator.

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