Youth In Focus: An Interview with Bayan S.

Bayan is a resident of Nablus, from the Khallet al Amood neighborhood, where the TYO Center is located. She graduated from Al Quds Open University with a degree in Social Services and this is her first session volunteering with TYO. Bayan Volunteer Interview

Why is volunteering with TYO important to you?

I grew up around the spirit of volunteering. When I was 9 years old I went to summer camp with the Red Crescent and I remember looking up to all of the volunteers. I was curious to see if I could do that when I was old enough. When I was 14, I became a volunteer and got to see first hand the positive impact this summer camp and the volunteers had on the children. I got to experience how we were actively making the lives of the children better. I continued to volunteer throughout university and I was interested in working or volunteering with TYO. I feel the volunteers provide valuable support to the children and I can see the impact we have on their lives here. I also, feel by acting as volunteers we’re fostering the spirit of volunteering in the youth.  Hopefully the children can look up to us and maybe some will want to volunteer when they’re old enough,

Additionally, it is very important for my generation to get involved with volunteering. We need these practical work experiences to help us find work. There aren’t a lot of jobs, and companies only want to hire those with experience. As a volunteer at TYO, I’m learning time management, problem solving, delegation, and teamwork skills important to every job, but I am also learning how to look at education and social work through a psychosocial lens.  The environment that children are exposed to the most will affect their attitudes and outlook on life. I’m learning how to properly react to certain characteristics, and when to look a little closer at a specific behavior. Social work is all about identifying potential problems and reacting properly. I’m building trust with the students and their families. This trust is playing an important role in implementing TYO’s interventions. This is why volunteering with TYO is unique. For me, I get to apply what I learned at university here at TYO and as a result am looking into ways to expand my career goals.

How does your family feel about your volunteer work and career goals?

I am fortunate that I have supportive parents. Their open-mindedness has allowed me to be able to pursue what I want and be exposed to a variety of different experiences. For example, at 14 I was volunteering in a mixed gender setting.  This is not common and most young women are not in the mixed gender environment until university. I’ve seen women get overwhelmed, almost shocked, when exposed to mixed gender classrooms. Given my previous exposure, I was well adjusted.  This is why I think TYO’s mixed gender classrooms are terrific. We need to teach youth how to work with one another at a young age.

I am a career driven woman, and I am looking for a job, financial security, and independence. I think it would make me the happiest to leave my house and create my own life. Marriage and motherhood are societal priorities, but they aren’t mine right now, nor are my parents pressuring me to begin that part of my life. I share this desire for work with my peers and see my generation expanding our lives more and more before marriage. I know I’ll get married eventually, but why limit myself now? As a woman, specifically a Palestinian woman, life is all about balance.  I want to make sure that my life is what I want before I add the responsibility of caring for a family.

This interview was conducted and translated by Sarah Fodero, Fall 2015 Intern and Futoon Qadri, Outreach Coordinator