Youth in focus: An interview with Sahar I.

Sahar I. is from Salem. She graduated in 2006 from An-Najah National University with a degree in Arabic Literature and Language. Saher assists children with a project designed to teach children about cooperation.

What made you apply for STEP?!

I was interested in applying for STEP! because I thought it was a good opportunity to develop myself and improve my skills at they pertain to working with children. Thus far I've benefited a lot from this experience and have even been able to apply the discipline tecniques I've learned at TYO on my daughters at home. This has been such a positive experience and I hope to one day be able to work full-time at TYO.

What new skills have your learned through the program?

My leadership and communication skills have most improved since I started volunteering at TYO. Every day we practice standing in front of the class and leading children. This requires a lot of practice and patience, but I think I've really improved in my ability to control children. Related to this, I've improved my communication skills. Getting children to listen and participate requires a certain type of interaction with them- it is very important to maintain a positive and encouraging attitude. It's easy to forget how much the rest of the class is watching and following your behavior. I noticed the other day as I was focused on helping one child with his homework that the rest of the class was also focusing their attention on me. Thus it's important to always be mindful of what we are doing and saying in front of the children.

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

I’m planning to work as an Arabic Teacher in a private or governmental school. TYO has been really helpful in teaching me job application and interview skills, as well as giving me the classroom management skills needed to be an effective teacher.

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

I graduated from university in 2006. So for me, the biggest challenge has been competing with other, more recent graduates for jobs. There are just so many new graduates and so few jobs it becomes more of a challenge with every year to find a job.  To try and combat this problem I'm always looking for new opportunities to better myself and improve my skills.

-Interview conducted by Volunteer Coordinator, Ruba Hafayda

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