Over half of the population in the Middle East, including Palestine and Lebanon, is under the age of 25.
Young populations are perceived as both one of the greatest risks and opportunities in the region. TYO is committed to engaging this important demographic, the leaders and parents of tomorrow. TYO’s diverse recreational, educational, and volunteer programming for youth is the ideal means to provide young people with a positive outlet for their time and energy at the same time as cultivating practical personal and professional skills for their future.
Youth Service Learning
An estimated 61 percent of the West Bank’s residents are under 24 years of age (UNRWA). Numbers are consistent in and out of refugee camps, with about 60 percent of Balata Refugee Camp residents under 24 years of age (UNRWA, Balata Refugee Camp). Employment prospects for 15 to 24 year olds are dim in the Middle East, where the age group’s unemployment rates average a quarter. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates total unemployment in Nablus to be 60 percent, and as high as 80 percent in refugee camps, TYO’s primary target areas. Inasmuch, youth populations are one of the greatest risks and opportunities in the Middle East.
TYO facilitates young people’s development as engaged citizens and professionals to favor positive outcomes for these individuals and society more broadly. TYO’s Youth Service Learning (YSL) programs, trains the next generation of local leaders while improving the quality of life in their communities. Through YSL, hundreds of young adults have been trained in classroom management, working with and mentoring children with special psychosocial needs, professional conduct, leadership, and public speaking.
TYO’s approach centers around young people, engaging them as trainees, beneficiaries, and emerging leaders within the TYO center and beyond its walls in their own communities. Volunteers flourish when given the chance to take an active role at TYO, developing responsibility and technical skills they had never been called on to use at university. The second invaluable outcome of volunteers’ training at TYO is that they have exposure to worldclass knowledge and practice for early childhood development. As youth on the verge of becoming parents themselves, this learning is a powerful driver of sustainable change.
Volunteers also benefit from intern-run professional development classes focusing on interview skills and résumé building. These skill-based trainings increase employability, and program participation encourages a culture of volunteerism and civic engagement among college-aged students from various local universities, including TYO’s longtime partner An-Najah University in Nablus. Volunteers enrolled in degree programs receive both academic credit and can apply for the TYO Scholarship.
The TYO Scholarship
The TYO scholarship provides tuition subsidies for eligible university students. Volunteers who have demonstrated commitment, professionalism, and an appreciation for TYO’s mission and values may apply directly to the Volunteer Coordinator.