If you have web design and experience and a big heart, TYO could use your help! http://ow.ly/bOfR1
Inspired by wall art that colors surfaces around the West Bank, the Triple Exposure project was designed to engage youth in expressing themselves through art that the public could access, thereby allowing communities in Nablus, the West Bank, and abroad witness the lives and personal expressions of youth. http://ow.ly/6ANLL
In just over a month, TYO friend Usama Malik will race through the Sahara Desert for seven days to raise funds for TYO! During the race, he will cover an amazing 250 km/156 miles of desert sand while facing temperatures up to 122°F. The Sahara Race is part of the 4Deserts series, which TIME magazine has named one of the Top 10 Endurance Competitions in the world.
Want to ensure that Usama’s incredible feat translates into meaningful programs for some of the Middle East’s most marginalized populations? Join the Racing the Planet for TYO campaign.
From September 1st to September 25th, people across the globe will Adopt, Join, and Mobilize the miles of Usama’s race to raise $25k in 25 days. By participating in the campaign, you can help make sure that the race has the biggest possible impact on the children, youth, women, and parents that TYO serves.
Choose a race track:
- ADOPT A MILE. Adopt one of Usama’s 250 km /156 miles by donating at least $100. For more information, read How to: Adopt a Mile.
- JOIN A MILE. Join one of Usama’s miles by raising at least $100 and moving a mile with him. You choose how you move (run, hopscotch, skip, or jumprope, to name a few) and who you ask to sponsor you. You’ll get a personal project page on Crowdrise to spread the word about your mile among your friends and family. For instructions on joining a mile and resources for sponsors, read How to: Join a Mile.
- MOBILIZE A MILE. Mobilize one of Usama’s miles by moving a mile with at least 5 people to raise at least $500. This is a great option for student groups, community organizations, or individuals who want to get really involved. You can choose to keep your event low-key or make it big and public. Your team will get a personal project page on Crowdrise to spread the word about your event. For instructions on mobilizing a mile and resources to help you organize larger events, read How to: Mobilize a Mile.
Want to make an off-track donation? We welcome them too! Just check out How to: Adopt a Mile for detailed donation instructions. Gifts of every shape and size will help us raise $25k in 25 days.
To learn more about the Racing the Planet for TYO campaign, check out our Crowdrise Project Page.
Leila Del Santo
Originally from Durham, North Carolina, Leila taught music, fitness, and computer classes at TYO during the spring 2011 semester.
What was your favorite moment/story from your time with TYO?
During the last week of music classes, my students and I took a field trip to the Edward Said Music Conservatory in Nablus. Although initially displeased that the much-anticipated field trip was not to one of the local amusement parks, the students’ disappointment soon ebbed as they eagerly watched the conservatory instructors perform and provide instruction on instruments ranging from the bass to the saxophone. For many of my students the trip illustrated the beauty of what could be accomplished with hard work and dedication to the study of an instrument.
What have you been up to after leaving Nablus?
I am a Hart Fellow with the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy in Battambang, Cambodia (July 2011-May 2012).
Do you have any advice for anyone considering applying for a TYO internship?
The TYO internship program is about so much more than day-to-day classroom instruction at the center; it is also about meaningful engagement with the Nabulsi community. Never let language barriers or unfamiliarity with your surroundings prevent you from building those relationships–for me personally, they were what made the internship experience so positive.
How do you think TYO affected you personally and professionally?
I’ve always loved working with kids, and the TYO internship only intensified that commitment to child and youth-related work. My current work in Battambang Province, Cambodia is likewise centered around vulnerable youth, and it is an area of interest that will most likely extend into future professional work. On a more personal note, as an American with Palestinian roots, the TYO internship was an opportunity to learn about, and to experience and celebrate my mother’s heritage. The graciousness and resiliency of the Palestinian people is inspiring, and I hope to return to work in Palestine in the near future.
Throughout the month of Ramadan, daytime fasting and nighttime feasting push business hours and bedtimes later here in Nablus. Mornings are particularly quiet, as children and adults alike sleep in after staying up late to work off the post-Iftar sugar high. But on Monday, at 10 am sharp, TYO was once again ringing with the sound of kids’ laughter and running feet as the Core Child Program teachers and the Triple Exposure team began the Ramadan session for 22 kids from Khellet Al-Amood.
This three week class is different from TYO’s normal 12-week interventions. In large part, it is designed to keep the children active and growing during this quiet month. Studies show that children without access to diverse enriching experiences during extended school vacations suffer significant losses in academic skills (National Summer Learning Association). In order to preserve and deepen the growth that our youngest Core Child Program students have been engaged in at TYO, we’re bringing them back for an hour and a half, three days a week, for the next three weeks.
The first week of the session has focused on instilling a sense of self and other in the children. On Monday, they drew pictures of themselves engaged in their favorite activities. On Tuesday, after listening to Jawwad’s spirited rendition of a story about an old lady, her cat, and some contentious milk, the children drew pictures of the characters in the story. On Wednesday, they discussed the many colors, animals, and plants that can be found in the sea. Each child then designed his own oceanic backdrop for the tissue paper and googley-eyed fish that they will make next week.
The next two weeks of the class will be structured more generally around the concept of creative play. Warm-up activities like “Simon Says” and games where they simulate the life cycle of a plant allow for simultaneous physical and cognitive learning. Threading beads onto strings helped develop the motor skills that the children will need when they will string all of their painted cardstock butterflies together to make a huge butterfly chain. Thus, through stories, art projects, and athletic games, these kids from Khella will spend their Ramadan mornings flexing their creative muscles, and in doing so, learn volumes about themselves, each other, and the world around them.
The activity in my arts and crafts class was simple; to write and/or draw a picture about your favorite memory from these past two and half months. As I saw my students writing about the time we made paper lamps for Ramadan, new friends, water balloons, and pool day, I couldn’t help but reflect on how important this experience has been to me and how I just can’t seem to shake the perpetual pit I’ve had in my stomach about leaving so soon.
Nearly three months ago I said goodbye to my family and boarded a plane with a certain amount of excitement and trepidation for a new and often misunderstood place, a new adventure. Although I had never been to the Middle East, I immediately feel in love with the resilient and vibrant spirit of the Nabulsi people. From the first week onwards, life has moved at an extraordinarily fast pace with little time to process.
But in this short time I have seen my students take leaps and bounds in developing their confidence and personality. One student, Aya, came into class the first two weeks and sat down with her head on the table. She was silent, upset, and refused to participate in many of the activities. Eight weeks later, I am bound to find Aya attached at the hips of a new group of girlfriends from a different neighborhood, coming to class early to practice her numbers in English with me, and standing in front of her peers to present her art projects with a shy but steady smile. What is even more encouraging is that Aya’s story does not stand by itself but is representative of TYO’s impact on the children who participate in its programs. Throughout these 8 weeks, I have heard similar stories repeated time and time again from my other interns; it’s one song I will never get sick of listening to.
My students and the intern program has challenged me to grown in new ways both personally and professionally. The lessons learned, stories I have had the privilege to hear, and experiences I have shared with my fellow interns will stay with me wherever I go.
Until I’m back in Nablus…ma’a salama.
Filed under: intern journal, internship program, Reflection, Uncategorized | Tagged: art, children, community development, early childhood education, intern abroad, internship program, nablus, Palestine, summer 2011, Tomorrow's Youth Organization, TYO, west bank | Leave a Comment »
That phrase is what I heard most from people today. This was my last week of teaching at TYO and it was a happy, sad, emotional, amazing week with my kids and women. I will never forget them and our time together. It’s fair to say that they taught me more than I taught them. I’m finding it difficult to express in words what they’ve done for me, so check out the photos that tell our story below.
- Megan is a summer program intern at TYO
It was a good week for my Creative Thinking class. Once an idealistic brainchild led by two terrified first-time TYO teachers, the pilot class is really starting to come into its own.
Heading into the class eight weeks ago, one of my major goals was to convince our kids that sometimes, it’s totally fine to be wrong. Getting the right answer isn’t always the point; it’s the process of reasoning that refines our logic and molds us into lean, mean critical thinking machines. Being wrong about things is what makes us human – it’s the proverbial hand on the stove top or super hot pepper that your brother dared you to eat. It might not be your proudest moment, but being wrong is what makes us grow.
To that end, I assigned a class project for which being right was victorious and being wrong was hilarious. The kids were each given a water balloon and told that in half an hour, we were dropping it off the roof. Their assignment was to create a protective barrier to prevent the balloon from breaking from the collision.
After a solid three minutes of staring at their balloons and fighting every ounce of kid instinct telling them to forget the project throw it directly at their teacher, they got to work. What resulted was nothing short of a miracle. There were no squabbles over materials, no moments of frustration, no asking for the answers – just good old fashioned hard work. They squinted their eyes and pursed their lips as they taped pieces of cushion and foam and newspaper around their fragile balloons. A half hour later, it was show time.
Only four kids out of two classes successfully protected their balloons from utter destruction, but it didn’t seem to matter. They laughed as volunteer Imad counted down from three before he released each kid’s creation. They laughed even harder when the balloons exploded all over me and my translator, Jamila. They smiled and shrugged when I held up the popped balloons with a grin, and four of them jumped up and down and hi-fived their friends while raising an dry, intact bundle triumphantly over their heads.
When we got back to the room, we asked if they’d had fun. The answer was a resounding “Ah! Ah! Ah!” (kid translation: yes, we did.) The activity wasn’t about being right – it was about learning that sometimes failure is okay. Especially if it soaks your teacher with a water balloon.
“Marhabaaaaa! Keifik?” Every time we climb into Munir’s spotlessly clean taxi we are welcomed by this cheery greeting as he, always the gentleman, holds the door open for us. “My favorite part of driving is talking to the interns,” he said. “Americans are always happy, and they always like to talk.” This may not be news to anyone who has experienced Americans abroad, but neither is Munir’s genuine interest in our lives surprising to me, as this open friendliness has become indicative of most of my interactions with Palestinians.
Munir has been driving interns all over Nablus (and the West Bank) for four years now, ever since TYO first opened in 2007. With each trip, he has taught us valuable lessons to use and build upon before our next journey with him. I learned quickly to listen carefully as, without fail, Munir always remembers to quiz you the next time you get into his car. “Hatha al-Diwar. Hatha hajiz. (This is the central circle. This is a checkpoint).” On my first grocery shopping trip, Munir decided to teach me the names of all the stores and the ever-necessary word “fatoora” or “receipt.” Inevitably, on our very next ride to the store, I had my first vocab test, which I passed only after every word of “badee narooh ile mahal fouwaka (I want to go to the fruit store)” was drilled into my head. Ever since, whenever I call him up, he makes sure to correct my pronunciation and verb agreement, my unofficial Arabic tutor checking up on me. This has produced great results, as my halting Egyptian Aameya has slowly morphed into a more confident Palestinian form of colloquial Arabic.
So if it’s our bi-weekly trips to Salfit to teach English (an hour round trip), a weekend trip down to Hebron, or a simple trip to the grocery store, Munir is there for the interns, ushering us through every leg of our discovery of Palestine. If one passenger even looks slightly concerned, whether we’re eyeing a passing army vehicle or we’re simply stuck in traffic, his immediate “Noooo problem!” always calms us down.
What lies ahead for our humble guide? “I will go wherever TYO goes. Anywhere they need me.” So, future TYO interns, you can look forward for years to come to many long and interesting rides with the ever-charming Munir. Yaslamu li kiteer rihlat momtaza, ya Munir!