TYO Volunteer Interview: Asma'

Asma' Debas, a volunteer in the International Internship Program and a third year student at An-Najah National University, shares her experience as a TYO volunteer.

Asma' Debas

When did you start volunteering at TYO?

I started volunteering this semester (about 2 months ago). I plan on reapplying to the TYO volunteer program for the coming sessions and after graduation, as well.

How did you learn about TYO?

A friend of mine has been volunteering with TYO and mentioned the program to me, thinking I may be interested. Since I am currently studying psychology, I was looking for experience with programs focused on implementing psychosocial methods, so I decided to apply to the program too.

What is the class that you are currently volunteering in?

I am currently volunteering in the Drama class, which is one of the intern classes at TYO. In the Drama class, we work on building self-confidence and open expression. We do this by encouraging the children to practice with one another and act in front of their friends, family, and other classes as well.

What is the best aspect of the Drama class?  

The best thing about Drama class is the fact that you get the chance to watch the children grow, watch them build their self-confidence, and even improve on your own open expression. When I first started volunteering, I noticed children were hesitant about working with the other gender. Now our children work and sit together, regardless of gender differences.

Why do you keep coming to TYO?

My experience volunteering with TYO has been very meaningful to me. TYO offers children a peaceful and caring environment, and this is something Palestinian children need. Witnessing TYO's impact on these children makes me happy. Also, because I am exposed to the wide array of psychosocial methods implemented in the program, I have learned a lot and plan on applying these skills in my future career.

How has this experience benefited you?

I came to TYO looking for experience linked to psychosocial methods used with children. I left with much more than that. TYO has also helped me build leadership skills and skills pertaining to working with children. When working with these children, I felt so close to them and this helped me experience their happiness and sadness. That in turn has helped me develop an understanding of the psychosocial methods TYO implements.

Any closing thoughts about TYO?

I wish organizations similar to TYO had been available during my childhood. I remember never having a place to play or experiencing care and patience from adults. I understand why children come to TYO. Children come to TYO to play, have fun, and find people that care for them. I hope TYO expands in order to accommodate more children and continues to provide young adults, such as myself, with opportunities to further develop their professional skills and serve their community.