TYO Volunteer Interview: Ahlam
Ahlam Menawi, a volunteer in the Core Program and a recent graduate from An-Najah University shares her experience as a TYO volunteer.
When did you start volunteering at TYO?
I started volunteering this semester (about 2 months ago). I plan to reapply to volunteer at TYO next semester as well.
How did you learn about TYO?
I learned about the TYO's Youth Service Learning Program from TYO interns, while partaking in English Competency classes offered at An-Najah University. After graduation, I read a TYO posting on Facebook regarding the volunteer program and I quickly applied.
What is the class that you are currently volunteering in?
Currently, I'm enrolled in the Core AM program, offered to children from ages 4-5 years old. In the Core AM program we introduce children to different 'corners' such as, concentration, imagination, sports, English, and storytelling. In these corners, they are encouraged to engage in open expression.
Which corner is your favorite thus far?
The sports corner is my favorite, simply because the children are allowed to run around and enjoy themselves. This is great because children have large spaces to play in, which is something they do not usually have in their home, neighborhood or refugee camp.
Why do you keep coming to TYO?
I find volunteering here to be beneficial to both, my personal and professional future. Moreover, it is my duty as a Palestinian to help these children. TYO is definitely a place where volunteers are comfortable enough to call home.
What’s your favorite thing about being a volunteer?
My favorite part about being a volunteer is being able to witness the fact that children are indeed like sponges. When I read stories to the children, which are aimed to teach lessons regarding different situations and values we face in life, they are always so attentive and enthusiastic during our discussions.
How has this experience benefitted you?
Before TYO, I never realized the extent to which these children are suffering. Simple activities that I did as a child seemed so insignificant, until I noticed how happy the children were while painting or coloring. Since the majority of their families do not have the means to provide them with these simple pleasures of childhood, TYO provides them with these pleasures and introduces them to a happier childhood.
As a graduate from the Journalism Department, I am more aware of real situations these children in disadvantaged areas of Palestine are faced with on a regular basis. Also, on a personal level, TYO has introduced me to better ways to deal with children. It has only been 2 months, and I am now more patient and have learned new techniques to use when approaching children.
Do you have anything to add?
Yes. I would like to say that we need more organizations like TYO in Palestine. Children in different areas in Palestine also deserve this specialized care that Tomorrows Youth Organization provides.