Committed to Children's Health and Well-Being

Core AM children gather for their daily meal at TYO Tomorrow’s Youth Organization was delighted to open its doors this past week for the Spring Core Child session. Children from all over Nablus’s most disadvantaged areas bounded through the doors excited to meet their teachers and catch up with friends they hadn’t seen since the fall session.

Aside from storytelling, critical thinking, sports, art, and basic literacy activities, what also awaited the children was a week full of healthy meals. A new study released Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine cited the importance of providing young children with well-balanced, nutritious meals. The study found that ‘the incidence of obesity between the ages of 5 and 14 years was 4 times as high among children who had been overweight at the age of 5 years as among children who had a normal weight at that age.’ Not only does childhood obesity effect a child’s health, but also, it can contribute to a multitude of additional problems effecting children’s ability to develop cognitively.

As such, a key component of TYO’s programming includes the healthy snack break Core children receive daily. Children living poor communities tend to have inadequate access to proper nutrition. It is all too common to observe young children wandering around the streets of Nablus with a bag of chips or ice cream in hand. In fact, obesity rates in amongst Palestinian children are growing, with roughly 15% to be considered overweight or obese. As such, TYO has taken a zero tolerance policy to junk food within the center.

In addition to not allowing children to bring in sweets, chips, or soft drinks, TYO reinforces the importance of a healthy and nutritious lifestyle through a holistic health education class and by modeling correct behavior and only serving the children locally sourced healthy snacks- such as hummus, fruit salad, yogurt, tomatoes, cucumber, and fresh pita. In health class, children as young as four learn about the importance of eating well. They are taught that good nutrition and hygiene are critical components of self-respect and that in order to honor themselves, they must take care of themselves. This helps to teach students responsibility and gain confidence.

Another critical component of TYO’s healthy meal program is that all food is sourced locally- further enhancing TYO’s positive community impact. By patronizing only small businesses, including local markets and bakeries, TYO helps to support the economically depressed local economy in Nablus.

TYO staff and volunteers look forward to another successful session of programing watching our children grow into healthy, confident individuals.

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