‘Shooting back from Palestine’ exhibition in TYO Nablus

Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, Nablus is proud to host ‘Shooting back from Palestine’, an exhibition of youth photography.

In association with the Paltel Group Foundation and the Palestinian Youth Association for Leadership and Rights Activation (PYALARA), the opening ceremony will be held this Sunday (24th July 2011), 12pm, at the TYO Center (Zafer al-Masri Foundation Building),  Khallet Al-Amood, Nablus.

Tomorrow’s Youth Organization has its own youth arts and photography program, Triple Exposure  and is delighted to host such a like minded project and inspire our own young photographers and artists.

Please join us this Sunday to view this amazing collection of photos from all over Palestine.

The exhibit will run for two days.

Just Add Water

At the end of June, the staff, interns, volunteers, and kids of TYO held what we’ve lovingly referred to as “Water Day.” The kids played about thirty minutes of soccer before volunteers began to emerge from the shadows of the Center, carrying mysterious baskets, bags, and buckets overflowing with the water balloons we’d spent hours preparing. I could practically hear the “Rocky” theme song as I watched, preparing for an epic afternoon. Nothing breaths life into a childhood memory quite like a water balloon or two.

Intern Cate and I got our kids settled in a large circle for a game of “Drip, Drip, Drop” – like Duck, Duck, Goose only instead of yelling “Goose!” the kid dumps a full cup of water on his/her target’s head (also, we decided to throw water balloons in lieu of tagging.) Cate and I jovially agreed to play, and mere moments after settling onto the concrete I had a water cascading down my forehead as I sputtered a laugh and tried to maintain control of my cotton-candy pink balloon.

The kids had a blast, and we learned a few interesting tidbits as well. Little Izz, for example, is only slightly slower than the speed of sound. The kids, who we worried might stick with their friends, turned out to be equal-opportunity soakers. Kids soaked teachers, teachers soaked volunteers, water balloons both missed and connected with their targets as everybody tried to figure out the best way to launch a balloon with a mixture of velocity and precision.

It was a ton of fun. Toward the end of the day, as we started to settle the kids and get them ready for the bus, I leaned down to pick up a small balloon that hadn’t popped. Before I could get back up, a tidal wave connected, Rose Bowl style, with the back of my neck. I turned to see our adorable Lin frozen in place with a now-empty bucket, grinning. As I stared at her in mock shock and teasing anger, I was hit with that profound realization that you’re in the middle of a memory that will last for years beyond its expiration.

So although I was still picking water balloon pieces out of my hair hours later, Water Day was a hit. My favorite moments here at TYO are those that transcend age and culture – the moments that emphasize our commonalities rather than our differences. And everyone, as it turns out, enjoys a good water balloon fight.

-Amy

Amy is a summer intern at TYO Nablus.

Celebrating 4th of July in Salfit

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On the morning of Tuesday, July 5th, the high-pitched voices of 50 third graders could be heard humming “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California, to the New York Islands…” Had Boy Scouts invaded the TYO Center? Had a Midwest homeroom class been transported to the TYO Center? Neither! A Palestinian classroom had magically transformed into a celebration, all with the help of some games, a little paint, and delicious burgers. Many smiles ensued.

Normally, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, the interns pile into Munir’s car for the windy trek over to Salfit, a nearby Palestinian village, for some extracurricular English classes at their local American Corners library. American Corners is a worldwide program run through the U.S. State Department. In Palestine, its sites aim to share American history and culture while also encouraging intercultural dialogue through literacy. So in that spirit, we celebrated the 4th of July with our Salfit students. Armed with flag coloring sheets, patriotic paint colors, and Independence-themed Bingo, we led various lessons on the most important values we share with our Palestinian brethren. Concepts like “family,” “nation,”  and “pride” are ideas that translate well in any language, and our students were excited to share with us their own holidays, traditions, and pride in their country. Through this special celebration, TYO hopefully imparted some of the best values we all honor on Independence Day. And, of course, what would the 4th of July be without hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream?

Happy (belated) Independence Day from all of us at TYO!

– Alex

Alex is a summer intern at TYO Nablus.

4th of July: A Day of Service

In honor of the 4th of July, TYO staff, interns and volunteers headed to the neighborhood park for an afternoon of community service.  Serving our community in Nablus is just one of the ways that we at TYO pay tribute to this day of independence – honoring community, equality, human rights and opportunity for all.

On this 235th anniversary of American independence, we are reminded of the centuries old, rich and unique history of Palestine.  It is a history that reflects the extraordinary resilience of its people and the sense of community and family that we experience firsthand every day.

Today we take a moment to honor those around the world who continue to strive for freedom and human rights. We are committed by our common aspirations for a better world for tomorrow’s youth.

-Humaira
Humaira is the TYO Nablus Center Director.

Mr. Zahi Khoury Tours TYO Center

On Thursday, June 23, 2011, Zahi Khoury and his wife, Amal visited the TYO Center. Mr. Khoury, Founder and CEO of the National Beverage Company and Chairman of Partners for a New Beginning Palestine, toured the Center and visited our weekly Thursday Sports Day.

Over a working lunch catered by Nehaya, a Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurs (FWEN) participant, Mr. Khoury discussed TYO’s programming and activities with several program managers. Several FWEN program participants presented their business plans and first steps to Mr. Khoury and received personalized feedback.

TYO is a proud member of Partners for a New Beginning. We were ecstatic to host Mr. Khoury and his wife and look forward to future shared efforts in Palestine.

Honoring World Refugee Day at Balata Camp

Today we mark World Refugee Day. For TYO staff, volunteers, and interns it was especially poignant as we spent the afternoon at Balata Refugee Camp – the largest camp in the West Bank. With over 30,000 residents on 1 kilometer of land, Balata is a microcosm of the plight of Palestinian refugees across the region.  With limited access to water, sewage, health, and educational services, camps are a haven for disease, poverty, and unemployment.

Children are the most vulnerable victims. Without access to quality early childhood education and the space and freedom to play as every child should have,  psychosocial problems such as post traumatic stress disorder and aggression are on the rise.  It is for this reason that the dedicated team of TYO staff, volunteers, and interns work hard each and every day to bring a little hope to each member of our refugee community.

Today was no different. After filling the bus up with staff, teachers, volunteers and interns, we took the five minute drive down to Balata, following the gentle, rolling hills that lead away from Nablus city center. After setting up shop at a local community center, soon came a jolt of brightness, of energy, of hope, of life. What a day! Young boys and girls made their way in waves, cautious and curious at the same time. We welcomed them, shared some introductory games and songs, and fed off their effervescent presence. We split the group, some engaging in thrilling relay races and sports games, others having the chance to embrace their artistic side: for the latter, we asked that they design a peace letter, illustrating and decorating a card of self-expression, showing who they are to the world, showing the peace they hope for to the world.

I hope these photos can do it some justice. Thanks to Andrea of S.O.W. for the great work!

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Photo of the Day: Resting Pre-Marathon


This afternoon, TYO held a mini-marathon with obstacles and, of course, prizes for the children! Here is a picture of some children resting before the run.

Monday Field Day at El-Ein Refugee Camp

Last Monday TYO spent its weekly field visit in the Hamdi Manko Center, a large, open space near El-Ein refugee camp. We were greeted by fifty excited children, some who were familiar with TYO and some who were new to our program. Ahmad, a current TYO Core Program participant, introduced each and every single one of our staff members to his friends. We were ecstatic to see that Ahmad had relationships with not just one or two, but was close to each one of us. We fell in love with TYO all over again, understanding that it is a center built on meaningful connections between our staff members, volunteers, and, of course, children.

Despite growing up in difficult circumstances, we found that even the new children opened up to us quickly. Haitham, one of our wonderful Core Teachers, had students stand in a circle and introduce themselves differently. One of the boys, Mohammad, introduced himself as Hammodah, the loving nickname his mother has for him.

We played together for hours and, eventually, ended our day with one of our favorite TYO games: parachute!

– Ala

Ala is a Core Program Teacher at TYO Nablus.

Field Trip to the Park with the Core Program!


Last Thursday, the Core Teachers skipped TYO’s building and went straight to the park with their students. It’s was a beautiful day and end to a long week, so we all decided the kids could use some fun in the sun. They played on the swings, jumped around in the sand, and got some exercise. And, we ran around taking pictures of their experience. Here are some of them!


“I’m so happy here! This is the first time I’ve been to a park!” said Sadeel, a 4-year-old. Sadeel wasn’t the only one who was new to the playful park experience. Some of the children weren’t sure what to do. Maid, for example, refused to play because he wasn’t sure what to do at a park until another child, Nihad, came to play with and help Maid. It’s great seeing the kids caring for each other, trying new things, and have fun!


The kids loved to role play on the playground. Here is a little girl driving!


We ended the day with some face painting. Kids requested flowers, butterflies, lions, cats, and even the TYO building! Eventually, the hours passed and it was time to go but the kids all expressed their excitement about another field trip to the park. It was a great day for the Core Program!

-Suhad

Suhad is the Psychosocial Program Manager.

TYO Summer Interns visit Rawabi

On Saturday, June 10, 2011 the TYO summer interns visited Rawabi – the first planned city in Palestine. Rawabi is situated 9 kilometers north of Ramallah and 25 kilometers south of our hometown, Nablus.

Standing on the breathtaking hills of the future development complex that will provide 40,000 Palestinians affordable housing in the next few years was inspiring! The city will encompass a central commercial area with banks, retail shops, medical offices, schools, community playgrounds, walking trails, a hospital, a hotel, a movie theater and other arts venues. For those of us that have the privilege of living in the West Bank, we know the endless obstacles that come with such an ambitious endeavor. That’s why seeing Rawabi’s commitment to ensure the environmental sustainability and preservation of the natural features of the site in light of all the other challenges was encouraging. Rawabi’s vision is to serve as a prototype of the first Palestinian green city and ultimately to guarantee a higher quality of life for present and future generations.

– Humaira

Humaira is the Nablus Center Director for Tomorrow’s Youth Organization.