TYO’s New Program: Learning What’s Behind the Smiles
Interning at TYO has made me realize what a huge impact organizations like TYO have on the community. Being involved in the Family Psycho-Educational Intervention and Economic Support Program, Women's Empowerment and Parenting Program, and the Core Child Program has taught me what an invaluable facilitator for community development TYO is. I’ve seen children and women come out of their shell and grow confident in themselves and their abilities after only a couple of months in the children’s and women’s programs. And I’ve witnessed families overcome serious adversity through my work in the Family Psycho-Educational Program.
Because I came in at the birth of the Family Psycho-Educational Program, I've been fortunate to be quite involved in the development of it. I've helped to provide structure through assisting in implementing various measurement tools, making sure ethical guidelines are followed and transparency was increased, and helping ensure workers receive the supervision, support and skill development they need to keep up with a demanding caseload. My deep involvement in this program helped me get a better understanding of issues Palestinian families face, but also of the challenges their assigned social workers and psychologists run into.
I've been able to closely witness the obstacles social workers and psychologists face in a culture and setting so different from the one I've been accustomed to. I've been amazed by their unbreakable optimism, creativity and energy when faced with ethical dilemmas that would keep anyone up all night. Working in a country where resources are so different from the ones I know has been eye-opening, and I've been inspired by the determination and commitment these ladies have demonstrated in the face of the challenges they work with. Their love for their field and passion in doing their job the best they can has been so contagious for me and helped me get back in touch with the reasons I was drawn to psychology in the first place.
Being a part of this program has had another major personal benefit: I was better able to understand the homes the children I taught English came from. I understood what kind of conversations they would have heard that morning before class and what would be waiting for them when they returned home. You understand why a kid is zoned out half the class and can't answer any of your questions and you are a bit more patient with the kid who clings to you for attention every time you focus on someone else. These children are so young, but are already coping with so much the best they can. Understanding this makes every fiber of your being work to give them the best lessons you can, which you see reflected in the other employees as well. This is something we immediately recognized and respected in each other. This is what made us connect despite our contrasting cultures and ways of life.
I am so glad I've been able to experience this internship and to see what the psychosocial perspective of TYO and its trauma-informed practices look like in the different programs. I've learned a lot and am glad to have been able to contribute a bit in improving the programs and sprinkling structure, safety, validation, and new coping skills and hobbies throughout. This internship has taught me so much and helped me mentally carve out the track I want the rest of my career to follow. It also leaves me with a challenging job search though, since it will be hard to find another organization that tackles these kinds of problems so skillfully and encourages new input to improve their programs wherever they can. To have worked with such incredibly kind, helpful and knowledgeable co-workers on top of that has been a treat. I thank everyone at TYO for teaching me what they know and making this experience happen, and most of all for ensuring this organization keeps existing and keeps putting its values into practice.
- Inge, Spring 2019 International Intern