An Excited Student Returns to the Academic Support Program: The Story of Razan

The Summer 2016 Academic Support program is in full swing, filling the Center with the sounds of laughter and children. Although some of the participants in the current session were newly enrolled youth, many were students who had chosen to re-enroll in the TYO program. What encouraged these children and their families to re-enroll? To find out, we spoke with one of the children who participated in both the Spring and Summer sessions this year.

Razan, a fourth-grader in TYO’s Academic Support program.

Razan, a fourth-grader in TYO’s Academic Support program.

Razan Salhab is nine years old. She is in the fourth grade, and lives in the immediate neighborhood of TYO, Khallet El Amoud. She was enrolled in the Academic Support program during its pilot session in the spring of 2016 and is currently enrolled in the Summer 2016 session. Razan began participating in TYO programming three years ago as a first grade student enrolled in TYO's Core Early Childhood Education Program. Her younger sister, Lillian, is a student in the Core Program currently.

Razan, how have your first weeks in the Academic Support program been? Have you had a good time?

It has been amazing! I have had so much fun and I am learning new things every day. I am also meeting new people and making friends. Specifically, I am studying the alphabet in my English and Arabic classes. I am also working on my math skills. Even the homework is fun! As soon as I receive my homework from Khaltu Mahfuza I start it. [Mafuza is Razan's teacher.] I do not wait until I am home — I am too excited. I like to be the first one to complete the homework because it makes me proud. At TYO we also have snack time. I like snack time a lot. All of the students sit together, and during this time we can eat and talk. The food is so good too!

It sounds like you like a lot of things about the academic program, but do you have a favorite activity from this session?

I cannot think of a favorite activity because I like so much of what I do in the academic program. Class is never boring. However, today was a special day. We played a game in which I had to read words off of a card and then act them out. We were moving around and using hula hoops. It was awesome.

Wow, it sounds like this session has been great thus far! Did you enjoy participating to the academic program last session, and how did you feel when you found out you were re-enrolled in the summer session?

Last session was amazing, so when I found out I was re-enrolled in this session I was thrilled! I was especially excited for the summer session because during the summer I do not have school and I knew coming to TYO would be fun. But even before I began the Academic Support program last session, I was excited to begin. Other children might not want to study after school, but I felt happy to know I would be in an after-school program. My education is the most important thing to me. I hoped being in the academic program would help me improve in school.

Speaking of school, where do you go and what are your favorite subjects?

I go to Khans'a Elementary school and my favorite subject is religion class. English class is very hard for me. The teacher is good, but I do not have the support outside of school to practice the English I learn during the day. This is why being in TYO's Academic Support program is great. I am working on my English at the center! I am also improving my Arabic and math skills. The two-hour TYO program is helping me in all of my subjects in school, which makes me proud. My parents are also very happy I am in the program, especially my mother. I definitely want to be in the academic program next session. Honestly, I want to be a participant at TYO until there is no program for me to be in. I love it here.

Pretend you are meeting a young girl who is not enrolled in TYO programming. What would you say to her about TYO?

First, I would encourage the other girl to come to TYO. I would tell her at TYO you will have fun and you will learn. Plus you will have snack time and in general it is amazing to be at the Center!


Razan’s family is from the city of Nablus. Both her mother Malak and father Abdul Haman were born in Nablus and currently reside there. Malak and Abdul Haman have 5 children – the oldest are Razan and Lillian.

The After-School Academic Support for Kids (AASK) program is supported by Relief International.

Kyra, Summer 2016 EFL and AASK Program Fellow