Being a teenager is hard, but for refugees, it’s even harder. Not only do they have to explore their identity and make important life choices, but they also have to battle mental and emotional traumas that result from fleeing war and waiting for resettlement. But Wesaal and Essam have found the hope to navigate these obstacles with the help of CRP’s teen programs.
Optimism and hope are necessary tools to navigate life. Many teens first come to us without these tools but are able to build them through our teen programming along with skills like leadership and academics. Essam, an Iraqi refugee, started coming to CRP in 2017 to meet new people. Besides creating lasting relationships, Essam found learning opportunities that were beneficial for his future. Now, Essam volunteers with younger refugees where he passes along his skills. From basketball to German-language class, CRP is not just a place for teens to play, it is a place where teens can pursue their passions and create hope for a brighter future.
CRP’s teen programs also attract Jordanian teens from our neighborhood, which is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Amman. There are no parks or free places for teens, be they Jordanian or refugee, to hang out in. Wesaal, a Jordanian, first came to CRP in 2017 for the teen program which she had heard about from friends. Since CRP is always looking for motivated and enthusiastic volunteers, it was not long before she was recruited to help with the youth programs. Wesaal has since taken on the responsibility of becoming a teen leader in several youth programs including SuperGirls and Sports for All where her charm is a welcome addition to the community.
It’s impossible not to feel optimistic around Wesaal. Although she is busy with school, she still finds time to volunteer at CRP and spend time encouraging the younger kids. It is volunteers like Wesaal that integrate optimism into our classes. Although Essam may have started coming to CRP to make friends and learn new skills, he stayed because of our staff’s ongoing support of refugees struggling to make a life for themselves.
When asked about their future aspirations, both have big plans. Wesaal says, “I always wanted to do something that has adventure in it.” Essam says that he hopes that in the future he can continue playing basketball professionally. Regardless of their backgrounds, one of CRP’s missions is to help teens like Wesaal and Essam knock over some of their obstacles and keep their future full of opportunities.
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