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Our Mission: TYO is an American, non-governmental organization that works in disadvantaged areas of the Middle East, enabling children, youth and parents to realize their potential as healthy, active and responsible family and community members. Read more

What's new from our blog

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    Giggles and Splashes

    Growing up in Southern Illinois, swimming was a central part of summer activities. Each spring was spent in anticipation of the time when days would become warm enough to jump into water and play with friends. In this region of the United States, the high number of lakes, rivers, and ponds also make swimming skills necessary for safety. My parents made it their mission to ensure I participated in swim lessons from a young age. Although it took a long time for me to put my face underwater, I learned to count on swimming as an enjoyable and key element Continue reading…

    September 5th, 2017 | Read more

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    Singing and Dancing My Way Through Nablus

    On my third day at TYO I spotted a guitar in the corner of an office. I could feel my heart beating faster with excitement as I asked if I could use the instrument and was delighted with the positive response. It was a small acoustic guitar that was perpetually out of tune, but simply having it brought me too much joy to care about the slightly off sound.  My happiness from finding the guitar didn’t stem from my direct love for playing music. Instead, the excitement was rooted in what the guitar could create. Music and dancing have always Continue reading…

    June 21st, 2017 | Read more

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    From the TV Screen Straight to the Heart

    Over the past two years, the term refugee has moved from humanitarian development circles into living rooms around the world as international crisis and crisis force men, women, and children to flee their homes for safety. From the flicker of the television screen and cultural, linguistic, political, and religious divides, it can be difficult to process the lives of those living as refugees. Palestinian American poet, songwriter, and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye stated, “You know, those of us who leave our homes in the morning and expect to find them there when we go back- it’s hard for us to Continue reading…

    June 20th, 2017 | Read more

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    Nablus: A Hidden Paradise

    One of my favorite new Arabic words that I’ve learned in Nablus is bejannan. A local staff member at TYO translated this word to me as a descriptor for something so overwhelmingly beautiful that it incites madness in onlookers. When I think of Nablus, I think, “Bejannan.” There is so much beauty in this city— in its people, in its landscape, in the rich culture of Palestinians—and TYO will always hold a special place in my heart for giving me the opportunity to be here. As I enter into my last week at TYO, my eyes well up with tears Continue reading…

    June 7th, 2017 | Read more