Rezeq helps the children in an art project in the health class Rezeq Dwikat, a volunteer in the Core Child Program and a current student at An-Najah National University, shares his experience as a TYO volunteer.

When did you start volunteering at TYO?

I started volunteering at TYO in January 2014. This is my first month at TYO, and I plan to volunteer again next session.

How did you learn about TYO?

I learned about the TYO’s Youth Service Learning Program through TYO's Facebook page. I was already looking for community service opportunities in other local institutions, so it was perfect timing when I saw the call for volunteers at TYO

What is the class that you are currently volunteering in?

Currently, I’m volunteer in the afternoon Core Child Program. This program is offered to children from ages 6-8 years old. In the Core PM program, we introduce children to different classes like Health, Sports, Drama, IT and Arts and Crafts. I'm volunteering with the health class.

Which part of the volunteer program do you most enjoy?

I really enjoy working with kids during homework help. TYO reserves 30 minutes every day for homework help. I think it is really important to help the children in their homework because there are a lot of strikes at the  UNRWA schools, so children do not get the type of academic support they need. Moreover, I appreciate the link we make in the health class, where all of the themes we talk about in the classroom are linked directly to reality. For example, we talk about the importance of hygiene, and we have the children wash their hands after and before the lunch break at TYO.

What do you enjoy most  about being a volunteer?

When I started volunteering with TYO one month ago, I found myself really interested in helping those children who need strong older role models. The children that come to TYO come from some of Nablus's most disadvantaged areas and sometimes lack positive role models. I could see the affect I made on the children. For example I supported one of the children who was very shy to share her ideas or talk to other children in small groups. In one month she was able to change positively and shares her ideas with others. Moreover, TYO is benefiting me on the personal side, where I'm improving my communication skills by building relationships with the different volunteers and the staff at TYO. This has been very helpful to me, as I feel I can go to any professor at the university to discuss something without being hesitant. There are many other skills I'm developing like being more confident.

I don't have any previous volunteer experience, so this whole experience has been very new to me. I've found  volunteering to be helpful not only for the children, but also for me  because it's helped to improve my sense of belonging and has helped me to develop a sense of duty towards the people we assist. It is important to be part of the whole community.

How has this experience benefitted you?

This volunteer experience has helped me develop professionally, as each day I practice my leadership, communication and team-building skills. I'm currently studying Finance, so all of these skills will be necessary for me to be successful in my career. Aside from that, this program makes me feel good about myself as I know I'm doing something helpful for the community.

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