Youth in Focus: An interview with Hadeel Khanfar

Hadeel Khanfar is from Jenin, Palestine and is currently living in Nablus. She is a second year student at An-Najah National University majoring in Community Service and Sociology. Hadeel helps facilitate a science experiment

What made you apply for STEP!?

There were several things about STEP! that initially attracted me to the program. I was a freshman student when first I joined TYO. As I am studying Community Service it was important to me to get hands on experience to supplement my academic work in this field as soon as possible, so I immediately applied to TYO when I saw the opportunity to volunteer. I believe it is important that youth work to promote a culture of volunteerism in Palestine, and believe I can lead through example. I feel a strong sense of responsibility to helping people in need living in Nablus and other disadvantaged communities.

What new skills have your learned through the program?

The STEP! program has helped me to develop my leadership and team-building skills. The teachers at TYO work hard to ensure each of the volunteers are given an opportunity to lead the class and practice managing children. Additionally, the opportunity to work with other volunteers in the classroom has enabled me to practice team-building. We must work effectively together and coordinate our efforts to ensure the class runs smoothly and that all children receive the same level of attention. Through these activities I've also been able to work on my communication skills- both with children and my peers.

 What are your career goals and do you feel that STEP! helped you get closer to those goals?

Following graduation, I plan to work in the field of Community Service and lead the youth in my community to improve their skills through volunteering and professional development trainings- similar to how TYO works to equip volunteers with needed skills. TYO is giving me the experience to be be successful in this area.

What do you think is the biggest challenge for youth like you in the current labor market?

I think the biggest challenge for youth entering today's job market is the gap between the academic experience and needs of the job market.  We come out of school lacking the hands on, practical experience required to obtain even entry level jobs. This hurts recent graduates as they are generally not equipped with the market needs. Many graduates tend to work in a field unrelated to their area of study because lacked the knowledge of what the jobs are actually available.

-Interview conducted by Volunteer Coordinator, Ruba Hafayda

This program is funded by the Abdel Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF)