Intern Journal: Multi-generational programming
The soundtrack to my yoga class differs from any I’ve been in before. Many of the women participating in the class are mothers and some of them bring their children with them when they come to yoga. So in addition to audible deep breaths in and out, I can also hear infants gurgling or the pattering of toddlers’ feet as I guide the class through forward bends, standing poses, and twists. The yoga room offers just one view of the multi-generational environment at TYO. The Core Child Program consists of health, art, sports, and technology classes for 4 to 8 year-olds, but early childhood education is not the only site of learning here. This session I and another intern teach classes in art and drama for 9-12 year-olds, while two former interns are leading a mural painting and photography project with 12-15 year-olds. The volunteers who assist in our classes are local students from An-Najah University. And just this week 25 women began orientation for a economic empowerment project started by TYO.
As an organization, TYO itself is still in its infancy, having started just 2 years ago. Its ability to offer programs and involvement to community members of all ages creates the unique setting where at any moment I can ask advice from an older staff member, hear about growing up during the second intifada from someone my age, or smile at the sight of small children sliding across the marble-like floor of the main hall. When I asked Chelsey, the program coordinator from Maine, if TYO anticipated the young students in my class eventually becoming volunteer assistants, she told me that in her mind TYO will be a success when a child who completed the core program becomes the center director. What a positive vision for tomorrow’s youth!
Kara is an intern at TYO Nablus and a participant in the Kalimatna Initiative.