Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Importance of Outreach

The goals of JumpStart’s Vocational Skills Training Fellowship involve more than just improving participants’ working skills – there is also an emphasis on the importance of civic responsibility. Toward this end, the project has begun an outreach component where participants begin to share both what they’re learning in the program, as well as a bit of themselves, with some of the region’s youngest victims. Current efforts are still small, yet the project looks forward to increasing such work aggressively as the project matures in the months ahead.

Community Outreach

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Field Testing

One important tool of the vocational toy enterprise is testing out what really works and doesn’t. Such a deceptively simple approach is equally useful for making a kite as well as testing out a business model – the first try seldom is perfect, and in turn powerful critical thinking is usually necessary to evolve beyond the initial hurdles. It is with this mindset that the toy project recently field-tested one of its first batches of sample kites. While not the most challenging work we’ll face, it was satisfying to see everything go smoothly and provide the participants with both the momentum to move into more challenging upcoming assignments, as well as a powerful tool in critical thinking to help participants overcome the future hiccups as well.

Noor, a junior staff member, flies a kite

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Healthy Balance

Participants coming together

While the vocational toy project is charged with imparting business skills and civic values into all of its participants, it is no secret that refugees from Iraq and impoverished adolescents from Jordan often face more than their fair share of hardship. In turn, the project is happy to share that we’re pursuing a “healthy balance” of constructive work and therapeutic fun – all in the name of sustainability. By keeping participants relaxed and energized, the thinking is that even though instructional time may be lost now and then, overall interest and longevity will increase – ultimately resulting in a better training experience for all involved.