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Our Mission: TYO is an American, non-governmental organization that works in disadvantaged areas of the Middle East, enabling children, youth and parents to realize their potential as healthy, active and responsible family and community members. Read more

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    Knafeh, Mujadarra, and Olives

    I traveled to TYO with both interest and an open mind, frankly not knowing what my next three months would entail. Upon my arrival and continuing throughout the fellowship, I was received with warm, welcoming, and compassionate Palestinian hospitality. As I reflect on this experience, I recognize three elements that made my experience especially meaningful: knafeh, mujadarra, and olives. These three foods were the means in which I learned about what Palestine means to the community in which I have lived. It was over eating knafeh everyday after work that I met locals and heard individual stories, perspectives, and lived Continue reading…

    January 17th, 2017 | Read more

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    Farewell to Gerizim and Ebal

    In his novel, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Milan Kundera writes, “The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.” As I say farewell to Nablus and to Palestine, I think of the many people I met who charmed and touched me. They are too many to be named. Thus, when I say farewell to Nablus and to Palestine, I think of Gerizim and Ebal, for they represent each of those people and each of those moments. There was the little Continue reading…

    January 10th, 2017 | Read more

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    From the Warmth of Palestine Back to the New England Cold

    As I get ready to return to bitter, frozen New England (in both senses of both words), I, like all of the fellows, am reflecting on my time here in Nablus.  Waking up to the sight of Dunkin’ Donuts and snow up to my waist will be an unfortunate change from the view of the Nabulsi mountains from my very window.  While I will obviously miss the beautiful vistas of Palestine, and the amazing knafah, it is my students that I will miss the most. This was my first experience teaching students who are my own age. Previously, I taught Continue reading…

    January 3rd, 2017 | Read more

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    I Respect Myself: A Safe Space for Self-Empowerment

    respect -(ri-spekt)- the esteem for a sense of the worth or excellence of a person Almost 15 years ago, I worked at  a youth theater arts summer camp. I joined the staff as an assistant teacher just for the summer not knowing about the existing programs and routines. One of the things that I noticed was that they had this unique ritual everyday of saying a password. The password could be anything of the students and staff’s combined choosing. However, there was one strict requirement. This password was to affirm something beautiful and empowering for everyone present. The password was a Continue reading…

    December 27th, 2016 | Read more