Between Two Ferns with Mutasim Qawariq

Mutasim can usually be found leading the soccer leagues on the TYO soccer field, mingling amongst interns, volunteers and staff like the Mr. Popularity that he is, or in my classroom doing his best to engage the children in English lessons. Amidst his busy schedule, I finally found a moment to sit down with Mutasim for an interview regarding his indispensable work with TYO:

Me: Can you tell me a little about yourself –age, education, work, hobbies/passion, etc?
Mutasim: My name is Mutasim. I am 23 years old, and studying English Literature at An Najah University. I like football, and spending time on the computer.

Me: How long have you worked at TYO?
Mutasim: I have been here for about 5 months, working as a volunteer and translator. In the Spring 2011 session I worked as Colin Powers’ (former intern) translator for homework help. This session, I helped translate for Colin during Soccer League, and with you in your summer camp English class.

Me: What brought you here?
Mutasim: There are not many job opportunities here for post graduates. I worked in a summer camp called “Holy Book” when I was 19, and really enjoyed it. I found that I like volunteer work and working with children very much.

Me: What is keeping you here?
Mutasim: I have lots of friends at TYO. I like to stay involved here because we are serving a lot of children in good ways. We can offer them more than just playing in the streets; instead they can spend time having fun in different ways in which they learn how to deal with other children and adults nicely. Also, can I say, I come because I like to improve my English [laughs].

Me: What is your schedule at TYO?
Mutasim: I work from Sunday through Thursday, from about 11:00 am to 6:00 on Sunday and Monday, and 11:00 am to 5pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Me: Wow, busy schedule. That’s great!

Me: Do you have a big family/are you use to a lot of interaction with children?
Mutasim: There are nine siblings including me, and I am the 7th in line. I live at home with my parents, but all of my other brothers and sisters are all over West Bank studying or working. I also have two brothers living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who I will visit, inshallah. I don’t have any very young siblings, but I do have nephews and nieces that I see sometimes. It’s a new idea for me to work with kids, but I enjoy it a lot because of their innocence.

Me: How do you envision your life being without having TYO around?
Mutasim: I would be wasting time. Here I feel I am doing something.

Me: What influence has TYO had on you personally?
Mutasim: Yeah, patience!

Me: How do you feel the work you have been doing here has affected the children you work with?
Mutasim: Sometimes I feel I can do a lot of things to help the children, but sometimes it’s frustrating to deal with naughtier children. This makes me want to stay even more because I want to continue practicing patience and helping children overcome their problems. I feel like I am doing something so good, and feel happy when the children like me and call me by my name, instead of Amo (Arabic for uncle meaning Mister) or something like that. They feel close to me.

Me: What is your favorite part of TYO?
Mutasim: Field days are good because it seems the work of TYO is expanding already through different parts of Nablus. And I also enjoy cleaning the parks because it makes me feel responsible. I feel I am doing something good for my country.

Me: What is your hope for TYO in the future?
Mutasim: I hope to see TYO extend to other cities like Ramallah, Jenin, and so on because I want to offer these great programs for children throughout Palestine. I also hope that they will continue adding other helpful programs for adults as well, inshallah.

Me: How long will you stay with TYO?
Mutasim: Until they become sick of me [laughs].

I hope that one day Mutasim’s hope for TYO’s extensive expansion becomes a reality, inshallah. It would be a privilege for us to have his continued support and involvement in TYO. I look forward to being witness to the mutual exchange of growth that one will provide to the other.

– Samin
Samin is a summer intern at TYO Nablus.

Petra Nemcova and Badr Jafar visit the TYO Center

Petra meets soceer boys

On Wednesday, October 14, 2009, supermodel Petra Nemcova and Young CEO of the Year (2009) Badr Jafar visited the TYO Center in Nablus with TYO founder HParachute Gamesani Masri. As the guests arrived, Haitham’s boys’ sports class was playing Parachute games in our outdoor space.  Psychosocial Specialist Suhad and Petra shared a moment observing the boys and talking about how working together to move the parachute creates a sense of community and security in the children.

Petra toured the TYO Center with several team members.  She expressed her support for our work. She was particularly charmed by our holistic integrated approach to early childhood education. A strong proponent of the approach, she highlighted the importance of integrated education.
Petra meet TYO participantPetra with Center Director
Petra was a very gracious guest stopping on several occasions and kneeling down to speak with our eager participants much to their delight. In our art classroom, she gave TYO a several sets of Gel Gems for the art classroom’s windows.

In our health classroom, the girls served Petra and Badr a classic (make believe) Palestinian meal of rice, juice and salads made from recycled and found materials. They were both delighted by the emphasis TYO puts on using recycled materials in its classrooms.

Petra plays make believe

Opportunities to rub elbows and share best practices with other dedicated colleagues – especially ones as famous as Petra! – do not happen as often as we would like in Nablus.  We are inspired by the work Petra has done with her Healthy Heart Fund and grateful for her recognition and support of our work.

GoodSearch? Good times!

Need to look up something? Maybe find a website?

Before you run to your go-to search engine, try GoodSearch, a search engine that donates to a non-profit each time you click “Search.” There’s also GoodShop, with links to Amazon, iTunes, eBay and many of your other favorite online shopping outlets! As much as 10% of your purchase will be donated to an organization of your choosing!

Support TYO on GoodSearch by signing up to give any donations to Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (McLean, VA). We’ve already raised $13 sitting in our offices!

Thanks!
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TYO Open Day!

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On Friday, 1 May 2009 Tomorrow’s Youth Organization hosted an Open Day at its Center in Nablus. All members of the Nablus community were invited to attend.  About 150 people, including children and parents, experienced an exciting array of activities offered by TYO, including art and sports activities, while enjoying a fun outing together. TYO Health Teacher Ahmad Hanani hosted many patients from the Thalassemia Society to promote healthy socialization and community awareness. Additionally, TYO hosted a debkah group from Beit Furik village. And, as always, TYO volunteers played a key role by contributing assistance to the teachers and selling their own handicrafts as a small fundraiser.

TYO is grateful to the National Beverage Company who generously donated juice boxes and water bottles to keep the crowd happy and hydrated!

Thank you to everyone who attended this wonderful day!

Read more to see more pictures from Open Day.

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