Every Monday and Wednesday, I meet with five volunteers for a half hour before my Fifth Grade English class begins. Beforehand, I spent the night before, and morning of, drawing up a lesson plan, scratching the whole thing, drawing up another, and scratching that one too. No matter how many different drafts I go through before settling on the daily lesson plan, I take care to lay it out, minute for minute, by the time my volunteers arrive. Assisted by five English language majors, translation has never been an issue in my class. I can rattle off a lesson plan, during our pre-class meetings, going over each activity only once, and trust that my volunteers will carry it out with indefatigable enthusiasm. Without them, I would be lost: both linguistically, as all five do an excellent job of bridging the gap between English and Arabic, and structurally, as the extra eyes and ears are invaluable when handling a room full of students nearing the completion of their first decade of life, an exciting time to be a kid!
The Volunteer Program here at TYO is an integral part of all facets of the Nablus Center’s programming. Ninety-one registered volunteers, drawn primarily from the local An Najah University, commit between eight and fifteen hours each week to serving tomorrow’s university students, working alongside TYO staff helping with the Intern Program, Core Program, Triple Exposure, Off-Site Initiatives and the recently created Nablus Premier Soccer League. While the majority of the volunteers have a background in education or English language, they come from fields as diverse as economics and fine arts. As Volunteer Coordinator Ahmad insists that a specific course of study is not nearly as important as is a commitment to serving children and acting as a role model in, and for, the community.
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