An interview with TYO volunteer Isra' Hamdan

Isra' enjoys teaching the core children Arabic in the Arabic corner

Isra' Hamdan, a volunteer in the Core Child Program and a current master student at An-Najah National University shares her experience as a TYO volunteer.

When did you start volunteering at TYO?

I started volunteering in the fall of 2013- about 6 months ago. I've really enjoyed my experience so I plan to reapply as volunteer at TYO next semester as well.

How did you learn about TYO?

I learned about TYO’s Youth Service Learning Program from my friends at my university.  We were talking about needing to develop our job skills when one of my friends who was already familiar with TYO suggested that I look into the Youth Service Learning Program. I checked TYO's Facebook page to learn more about when program starts and how I could apply.

What is the class that you are currently volunteering in?

Currently I’m enrolled in the Core Child morning program offered to children from ages 4-5 years old. In the Core Child morning program we introduce children to different outlets in which students learn to express themselves. Such outlets include: sports class, English class, and storytelling. In these corners, students are encouraged to engage in open expression.

Which class is your favorite thus far?

I like the imagination corner because the format of the class has been helping me to practice my leadership skills. In the imagination corner I often lead games with small groups and am required to break down complex ideas into simple language for the young students. As I'd like to be a teacher, developing these skills is really critical to my future professional success.  I also enjoy working in the sports corner because I enjoy watching children release their energy and express themselves through movement.

Why do you keep coming to TYO?

Volunteering at TYO is has helped me to gain experience in the classroom- which is really important as I am studying to be a teacher.  I've particularly enjoyed volunteering at TYO because I've been learning unique teaching methods. The way you teach children at TYO is different and inspiring. Students are kept at the center of all activities and the teachers work hard to show them constant love and attention. Observing the teachers has also helped me develop new ways to teach children in a creative way.

What is your favorite thing about being a volunteer?

I like feeling that I'm doing something for children who are in need. I really feel that I am able to develop a bond with the students during the session. I love seeing their smiling faces and teaching them new things.

How has this experience benefitted you?

Volunteering at TYO has benefited me in several ways. First of all, professionally, I've developed leadership skills. I feel that I've developed my communication skills, especially this session because I've been given many opportunities to communicate with the team. Prior to volunteering at TYO I was a bit shy and struggled to communicate with others. I've also become more patient with both children and adults.

Any additional comments?

Yes, I would like to say that volunteerism culture is highly important and helpful for the youth to start volunteering when they are at school so they can build an experience and develop their skills. I myself regret the time I spent when I was a BA student without any volunteerism experience, so I wish that TYO opens many different opportunities for having more volunteers to get that experience I've got.

Isra' helping a child in the concentration corner to complete a puzzle

This program - as part of Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!) - is sponsored in part by the Abdul Hamid Shoman Foundation.

 - Interview conducted by TYO Volunteer Coordinator, Ruba Hafayda