LEAP Testimonials: Mike

LEAP Testimonials: Mike

Having participated in LEAP’s SHINE program both as a volunteer, and as a coordinator, I can truly say the experience changed me deeply, and was incredibly rewarding.  Like many volunteers, I first came to LEAP out of solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Seeing the conditions in the camps, the border between Lebanon and Palestine, and several refugees who were forced to flee their homeland in 1948, taught me more than any amount of reading or studying could.

Having only briefly studied Arabic, I thought I would have a lot of trouble communicating.  Luckily, the staff of Beit Atfal Assumoud, our partner organization, is absolutely incredible (often just a word from them can calm 15-20 rowdy kids).  Their co-teachers have an impressive control of the classroom and their translators are immensely helpful.

Teaching the amazing children of the Bourj al Shamale and Rashidieh refugee camps proved by far to be the most important and rewarding part of the program. I had never taught English before, yet found myself completely taken by my English class.  I still keep in touch with my coworkers and students in Lebanon, and find myself constantly inspired by them. Like one time, when I came to the rewarding realization that one of my creative writing students wrote a better Haiku than I did!


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LEAP Program

LEAP is a grassroots volunteer program established to provide educational empowerment projects to support the intellectual growth and creative curiosity of refugee-youth in Lebanon so they may become agents of change. As an apolitical humanitarian US-based organization, LEAP aims to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinian refugees in general, but particularly in Lebanon, to American volunteers.

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