Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Blog

On May 14th, the Arab American Institute Foundation and the Network of Arab American Professionals hosted a storytelling and bookmaking workshop for local youth, as part of the National Arab American Service Day. Service Day was hosted in conjunction with the National Network for Arab American Communities and National AmeriCorps Week to further the discussion and growth of national service in the public realm.

The workshop as sponsored by 826DC, a non-profit writing and tutoring center co-founded by renowned author Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), and Horton’s Kids, a tutoring and mentoring organization for children in Anacostia. Over the course of two hours students created, illustrated, and published a story sprung from their collective imagination, combining group storytelling with individual creativity. 

The product, a thrilling fantasy tale titled “Forest: The Witch, The Princesses and the Paintbrush,” was printed and bound on the spot, and each participating child was given a published copy of their book to take home.

The event brought out over a dozen members of the community to participate in the process, and feedback was universally positive. According to one volunteer, “volunteering at Service Day was a great way to get Arab Americans involved with the community around us; I thoroughly enjoyed assisting the youth of DC in igniting their imagination through creative writing and colorful drawings, and  I look forward to Service Day again next year!”

Organizational sponsors were equally impressed. Mariam Al-Shawaf, an 826DC coordinator, applauded the “enthusiastic and engaging people that encouraged students to embrace their imagination and get their ideas on paper!”

“When our community dedicates itself to serve others we learn that there is more in giving than receiving, and that through our collective efforts, we are capable of effecting significant change,” said Samer Korkor, president of the Network of Arab American Professionals.










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