Reaching Out to Children Who Can't Reach Us
At TYO, we try to reach out to as many children as possible. One of the best ways to reach out to more children and families in Nablus is to work with other local organizations to recruit children to our program. In the past, we have worked with the SOS Children's Village - Palestine in registering children for our Core Program. The SOS Children's Village - Palestine is located in the center of Bethlehem. However SOS has also established permanent psychosocial centers in Nablus, Hebron, Jericho and Jenin. This session, SOS has referred 12 children with various psychosocial needs, ages 8-14, to join us in our center. For 10 weeks, these children will meet every Saturday for an hour and a half, working with TYO trained volunteers.
These children come to us with various psychosocial complications including social phobias, isolationism, communication issues and concentration difficulties. We work with this group of children to combat these issues by engaging them in various games and activities during their time with us. We help them improve in communication by encouraging them to interact with their peers and our volunteers. Through games, children learn self-confidence, about teamwork and concentration skills.
Our first session with these children, on October 1, 2011, went extremely well. We began with various orientations about TYO and led icebreakers to build bridges and create trust within the group. One of our volunteers, Ahmad, said the program went very well and although the children were very shy at first, some began to open up rather quickly. Ahmad was especially happy when he saw Hiba, a girl who distanced herself early on and hardly spoke, excited and enthusiastic about receiving a balloon.
At the end of our programming, we will sit with the therapists from SOS to evaluate the impact TYO has had on the children. And from there, we will work together to figure out the next steps for this group of children. We are so excited to watch these kids flourish in the coming weeks!
Ahmad Hanani is the Volunteer Coordinator