We are working to foster greater understanding between youth and support English language growth for conflict-affected high school aged students.
Helping conflict-affected high school students improve their English to increase their future opportunities.
Increasing compassion in high school students by connecting them with peers from different backgrounds.
Providing a voice for conflict-affected high school students.
How it Works
During the year long program, English-speaking high school students are matched individually to conflict-affected high school students to tutor them in English online. After receiving a trauma informed training and curriculum, tutors meet with their student for an hour a week. Simultaneously, tutors meet together with their participating peers every week to reflect on their experiences. Throughout the year, clubs are encouraged to share their experiences with their schools and communities through outreach projects.
Why high schoolers?
We are targeting youth in particular because we see that high school students are at a crucial point in developing their understanding of the world, and we hope that providing them with this unique opportunity to connect with someone who has had vastly different experiences will expand their view.
When during the week do tutors meet with their students?
Setting the session time is up to the tutor and the student. Tutors work with their student to pick a time that works best. Due to the time difference, pairs often chose mornings or evenings on the weekend.
How often do tutors and students meet? How frequently?
Tutors are expected to meet with their student for an hour each week. This can be split into two half hour sessions.
Do tutors need to know Arabic?
Absolutely not. Most students speak some amount of English already.
Is there a set curriculum students must follow?
Tutors will be provided with curriculum materials and supplementary test-specific materials to follow. However, we emphasize tutors working with their students to meet their individual educational goals. Often students have specific goals such as studying for the TOEFL or SAT or improving their spoken English. Tutors have the freedom to curate personal lessons plans for their student, but the curriculum is a great resource for when a tutor is stuck on what to work on.
What are the requirements of high schools wishing to tutor?
Schools must have at least 7 committed tutors. These tutors must be in an organized group such as a club specific to Paper Airplanes, as part of another club, or as part of a class. Tutors must meet together at least once every two weeks.
"My name is Bouthina and I am from Syria, working as an Enlgish teacher in Reyhanli, Turkey in the 'Ataa School. Out of school I work as a volunteer to help Syrian women mentally and spriitually. We hole medical, psychological, social and education session for women in the community with the goal of helping and empowering them"
"I'm trying to do my best despite the difficult circumstances that we face to teach young girls English. Recently, the Turkish government forced us to replace our English classes with Turkish classes, which has made it very difficult for us to teach English to our students."
This year, volunteers from 8 high schools across the world
are serving over 100 students in the MENA Region
Ward Melville High School
Long Island, New York
In the pilot year of the Youth Exchange Program, ten high school students from Ward Melville High School were matched with ten Syrian students. They each met once a week on Skype, discussing their lives, their dreams, and everything in between. In the spring, the high school raised over $1,000 to purchase tablets for their students' classroom.
The 'Ataa School
The 'Ataa School is an independently run Syrian school in Reyhanli, Turkey that is addressing the lack of educational access for over 2,000 Syrian students. Many have dreams to attend universities but need high levels of English. Paper Airplanes is providing English buddies to help the students practice and improve their English, and connect them with peers halfway across the world.