Ready, set, go!

TYO’s $25k in 25 days campaign starts today!

From now until September 25, we’re inviting you to adopt, join, and mobilize the 250 km/156 miles of Usama Malik’s race through the Sahara Desert. With your support, we can ensure that this race makes a huge difference in the lives of the children, youth, women, and parents that TYO serves.

We’ve only got 25 days to do this, so head over to Crowdrise right now to help us raise $25k in 25 days!

Introducing TYO’s First Fellows

TYO welcomes Clare and Karen to the Nablus Center.  They come to TYO as recipients of the Princeton University ReachOut 1956-81 International Fellowship, an alumni-funded grant awarded to a graduating senior (or pair of seniors) pursuing an international service project.  The ReachOut Fellowship enables graduates to leave a lasting impact on some of the world’s most marginalized communities.  Over the course of the coming year, Clare and Karen will work on many projects, including the design and implementation of community needs assessments, a social media strategy, fundraising campaigns, and local and international outreach strategies.  They will also teach classes to youth and mothers.  A brief introduction from each follows

Clare Herceg

About Clare:

A government-sponsored trip to Egypt during high school first drew me to the Middle East.  It was there that I heard Arab perspectives on the Arab-Israeli conflict for the first time.  I left Egypt with a desire to learn Arabic, so that I could better understand these opinions from people themselves, as opposed to relying solely on the American media.  At Princeton, I immersed myself in Near Eastern studies courses in politics and history, striving to better understand both sides of the conflict and the extent of the American involvement in it.  Regional study-abroad experiences in Amman and Cairo supplemented these studies.  I also explored my interest in education policy by taking classes on the achievement gap and race relations, while complementing these courses with teaching in a local prison.

TYO has given me an incredible opportunity to combine my interest in education with my desire to serve Palestinian refugees.  I am already impressed by the sheer volume of its programming and the emphasis placed on monitoring and improving its programs to ensure that it continues to effectively meet community needs.  I hope that this fellowship allows me to better understand the effects of the Occupation on Palestinians and to serve this community in a meaningful and lasting way.  When I look at the beaming faces of the children as they rush into the TYO Center, I know that for now, this is exactly where I want to be.

 

About Karen:

Karen Campion

A bit of hubris, combined with the conviction that current U.S.-Middle East relations were based on a set of serious misunderstandings, led me to Arabic 101 during my first semester of college. I quickly discovered how little I knew about the region, and I became more determined than ever to develop a nuanced understanding of its societies, politics, and people.  The following year, I helped coordinate a conference that brought Arab and U.S. college students together to discuss relations between the United States and the Arab world.  There, I learned that U.S. policies towards Israel and Palestinians were a very real source of anger and frustration in the Arab world.  Moreover, as I studied the conflict itself, I began to appreciate the devastating impact that conflict and occupation have had on  individuals and communities alike.

In the last three weeks, I have already witnessed the power of TYO, where friendships, field trips, and classroom activities allow individuals to learn about themselves and each other in profoundly new ways.  I am honored and excited by the chance to be a part of this joyful and transformative community in the coming year.

It’s Not Elementary, But Preschool.

A very interesting article in this month’s Time Magazine reveals findings of a groundbreaking 25 year study on early childhood education in Chicago. The results?

To cut crime, raise education and income levels, and reduce addiction rates among the poor, no program offers more bang for the buck than preschool….That means having qualified teachers and providing a structured but nurturing environment. In addition to the quality of the program itself, another reason the Chicago preschools may have had such a large impact is that they helped parents feel that they were part of a community and kept them involved with their children’s school.

Whether Nablus or Chicago, access to quality early childhood education can have enormous impact on children, parents and communities.  We encourage governments and donors to recognize the importance of funding early childhood education programs. Because if results are what we want, preschool wins.

Call for Applications: Fall 2011 Internship!

We are recruiting highly qualified and motivated interns interested in community development, early childhood and youth programming, and conflict resolution to work at our flagship center in Nablus (West Bank, Palestine) for our fall programs (late September – late December 2011). Interns will create fall programs for children, youth and adults from refugee camps and other marginalized areas of the Nablus community. Each intern will develop and implement their own creative curriculum(s) through the fall, documenting development growth/gains in their class and in their participants, as well as informally acting as a liaison between TYO and the local community.

Read more about the position and the application – it’s due by August 15, 2011.

Good Luck!

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.

Welcome SOW National Team!

TYO is delighted to welcome back to its Nablus Center members of Students of the World. This June, the SOW National Team will be in Nablus documenting TYO’s programs and activities.

Welcome back, friends!

Andrea Patiño – Photographer. A native from Bogota, Colombia, Andrea Patiño is in her third year at Duke University majoring in Cultural Anthropology. She has been engaged in documentary photography for about a year now and is very passionate about it. While photography—especially photographing others—is an activity that poses a lot of questions, particularly about ethics, Andrea thinks that this medium is one of the best ways to tell a story.

Jackie Turner – Filmmaker. Jackie Turner is in her third year at the University of Michigan, majoring in Program in the Environment and Screen Arts and Cultures and looking towards a career in environmental and social documentary.  At U of M, Jackie is an executive producer and board member of M-agination Films, a student-run production organization focused on helping connect students from all disciplines who want to make films with the resources to do so.  She has produced short documentary films about her previous travels to Guatemala, Kenya and Costa Rica.

Madeline Lewis – Development Coordinator. Madeline Lewis is a third year Foreign Affairs major at the University of Virginia’s Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics. She has a passion for anything international and is excited about her position on the 2011 SOW National team as the Development Coordinator. Born and raised in Dallas, Madeline’s love for traveling led her to Charlottesville for college, where she has immersed herself in hiking adventures and the history surrounding her college town.

Sarah Osman – Journalist. Sarah Osman is a senior at the University of Michigan majoring in English and Communications. She is originally from New Jersey but her home is now in Commerce, MI.  She enjoys writing and creating concepts for LEAD Magazine as the Creative Director.

Kate Simpson – Producer. Kate is a senior majoring in philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. Through riding in a charity bicycle tour across North America, Kate discovered her love of nonprofits and hopes to someday have a career in that field. She is excited to be a part of Students of the World because it will allow her to follow her passion for serving others, challenge her boundaries, and to further explore the world.

Jon Kasbe – Assistant Filmmaker. Jon is a curious filmmaker at UNC-Chapel Hill majoring in media production. Last semester, Jon worked with The Daily Tar Heel creating online videos for the multimedia page. Jon is currently freelancing as a multimedia journalist for Reese Felts Digital News, an innovative digital news publication. Jon is also the director of photography for the one-hour drama “Above The Fold,” a scripted student web/TV show.

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.

Teaching and Tweeting: Megan and Mark’s Week With the Zajel Program at An Najah University

Last week, Mark and I taught a five-day seminar series on Social Media for the Zajel Summer Program at An Najah University.

We focused primarily on how to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogs to promote your campus club, business, non-profit organization and even yourself online. Our approach to teaching these workshops was to not only provide more information about popular social networking tools but to also offer a chance to practice using them with guidance from teachers who use these applications on a regular basis.

Our students had a great time practicing creating Facebook pages and blogs dedicated to a range of topics, including a fake campaign to create an artificial sea in Nablus (the “We Need a Sea in Nablus” Facebook page). As a Twitter enthusiast, I most enjoyed sharing my love of tweeting with my students. Twitter was a site that everyone in the class had heard of but didn’t know much about. They were keen to learn more about it and we helped them to set up their own accounts. We also offered tips on how to link different social media accounts to each other in order to maximize your online audience. Continue reading

Thursday Sports Day and a Training with Sari Rose!

This past Thursday, the US Consulate was kind enough to link TYO up with Sari Rose, the Director of Coaching for the North Carolina Youth Soccer Association, who is traveling through the region as a sports ambassador. Ms. Rose has been leading seminars and clinics emphasizing how personal and social responsibility can be developed through the agency of sport. Being that our summer camp now features 2 hours of sports programming every Thursday, Ms. Rose’s visit this past week was especially serendipitous.

For the first half of her visit, she invited all our female staff, interns, and volunteers to take part in a work shop and tutorial. As she discussed there, her approach to youth sports is based on a conceptual model that encourages her students to work on five different levels of self-improvement at any one time:

1. Effort- trying new things

2. Respecting others

3. Having self direction- empowering kids, allowing them to coach sometimes

4. Helping other and leading others

5. Applying what they learn at home

Those are certainly lessons with a lot of pertinence for the kids we work with here at TYO. After finishing up in the classroom, she led the troop down and jumped into the ongoing sports activities with all our wonderful students. Check out the pictures below. It was a great, inspiring day for many.

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