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July 26, 2012 Posted by admin in Blog

Kitaab Camp: Fun Learning with a Cultural Twist!

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Kitaab Camp is in full swing as it begins its third week of the summer! Under the leadership of Youth Program Manager, Mohammad and the guidance of our Kitaab Camp Coordinator, Kayla and Student Youth Employment Program participants, the campers have embarked on trips around the city in an effort to reinforce their knowledge and practice of the English language. So far the group has visited the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Museum of Chinese America, the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, Ellis Island and El Museo del Barrio. Whether identifying different types of vegetables at the Children’s Garden in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, or learning about robots, video game programming and digital animation at the Sony Technology Lab, campers are actively interacting with the English language. Click here to see photos of their trips around the city.

On a recent adventure to East Harlem’s Latin American Art museum, El Museo del Barrio, the group enjoyed an interactive tour of the main gallery in addition to a hands-on art workshop. Though the museum was exciting and informative for the kids, what really shined through was their amazing group dynamic. With ages ranging from 5 to 12, and campers coming from many different backgrounds, the group’s strength is its diversity. It is a multicultural and multiracial mix of campers from Haiti, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Yemen, Palestine, Egypt and Turkey, as well as New York. SYEP participants and older campers have risen to the occasion and taken leadership roles, while younger campers learn from their older peers. Sarrowr, an SYEP participant and community member emphasized how being a leader in the group has reinforced her desire to become a teacher:

“I wanted to be a teacher and now I have a preview. I didn’t know what to expect when I started, but now I feel prepared for the future. The program isn’t just for the kids, it’s for us. I thought I would be teaching them, but after 3 weeks I realize that they are the ones teaching me.”

In addition to youth leadership, the group has benefitted from adult oversight. Ms. Salim, a certified NYCDOE substitute bilingual teacher, emphasizes lesson planning and structure within Kitaab Camp field trips by designing worksheets specifically for ESL students. With this strategy the campers learn the necessary vocabulary prior to visiting sites where they will hear the words in context. Though her specialty is Spanish and is directed to teaching the Spanish-speaking campers, she hopes to collaborate with Arabic speakers to add Arabic to her worksheets.

Kitaab camp is in session until August 17th. Future adventures include the Museum of Natural History, New York Aquarium, PuppetWorks and the Prospect Park Zoo.
July 3, 2012 Posted by admin in Blog

AAANY's family growing and about to get a lot bigger!

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We are so glad to have additions to an amazing team, the vast majority of whom has started with us since June. Ayisha, Aber, Zayd, Nourah, Omar, Katie, Kayla and Mohamad have all been constructing or strengthening programs that are about to start -- or just took off. On Monday, 9 Youth Community Organizers (YCO) worked with Ayisha, getting to know each other and discussing identity, getting inspired about the "why." It warms my heart to know that they visited Brother Cyrus up at CAIR today in what I have no doubt was an informative to hopefully transformative workshop. This program will culminate with these youth putting together the second annual youth summit in the end of August and empower the ongoing "AmplifYour voice" campaign.

On Thursday, July 5, 9 more youth will begin working with us for the next 7 weeks. The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) participants will range in age (14-20), race and languages --including Spanish and Urdu. Thanks to the Department of Youth and Community Development's SYEP program over 30,000 youth are able to be hired in NYC. Our SYEP's will have a variety of tasks: whether as camp counselors, administrative assistants, caseworkers, accountants, or doing voter registration, we are pleased to have a lot to do, teach, and produce! One of the major programs they will help with is Kitaab Camp; a 6 week summer camp that is fun, innovative, and geared to teach ELL (English Language Learners) or other at-risk youth ages 5 to 12.

The fabric of the community that we seek to empower needs your generosity to continue to grow. I could say, Click this link to donate. But more importantly, spread the love.  Come to the Bazaar this Sunday and make sure to invite your friends. This is our sixth annual Bazaar and each year it gets bigger and better.

-Christophe Jospe