Youth. Service. Learning.
Every session, more than 80 volunteers from local universities work with TYO. Volunteers are trained in a variety of topics: leadership, community development, and classroom management. These trainings help support hardworking, well rounded volunteers for TYO's classes. But for these young professionals, the trainings also serve as learning experiences that can be put to use in future places of employment. One volunteer, Nasser, started volunteering at TYO in 2009, when he was in his second year at An-Najah University, studying Elementary Education. Naser has volunteered in a wide variety of classes including sports, arts, computer and photography. Now, three years later and after graduating, Nasser is still a volunteer with us. When it came to his future, Nasser was confident of the path he would take.
Nasser became a certified teacher with the Ministry of Education at an elementary school in Aqraba village. He teaches children in first and second grade, implementing a holistic curriculum – teaching math, Arabic, health and life skills. According to Nasser, his experiences at TYO made him employable.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates total unemployment in Nablus to be 60 percent. In this city of high unemployment, Nasser’s resume stood out from the rest of the applicants – he had both experience and commitment. He has shown commitment to working with children, returning session after session despite his busy class schedule. But perhaps more importantly, Nasser has firsthand experience with working in a classroom, with lesson planning and with discipline techniques.
Today, Nasser always tries to implement what he learns at TYO to his own classroom. He loves teaching his students a variety of songs he learned from his time spent in our classrooms. The children especially love "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" - a song Nasser himself didn't know until coming to TYO. He also utilizes activities learned from TYO-hosted Right to Play trainings - from parachute play to relay races. However one of his biggest takeaways from volunteering at TYO is encouraging a love of reading with his students. Putting Scholastic's My Arabic Library and MEPI trainings to good use, Nasser learned to make books fun, interesting and engaging for his students. We are incredibly proud of the initiative Nasser takes in applying his learned knowledge to his place of employment. We love knowing that other children in Palestine, that TYO doesn’t reach, are still receiving a strong, holistic education.
At TYO, I think we give our volunteers the tools and resources to succeed. It's what the volunteers do with these tools, that make success stories. Nasser is just one success story. Many of our volunteers have gone on to do great things throughout the Nablus community. This summer, we interviewed Luai, a dedicated TYO volunteer who teaches Arabic at a school in Nablus. Tamam is working in a kindergarten teaching art and music. Yousef is working with various local organizations, implementing needs assessments throughout Nablus. Nisreen is an English teacher with an elementary school in Nablus. Rafeek is a translator at an international organization. We are so proud of the work our volunteers have gone on to do. We hope to continue making TYO a place for learning for all, motivating Nabulsi youth to be hardworking, engaged members of their community.
Ahmad is the Volunteer Coordinator.