Student News

Hardest Goodbyes

Melisa Gurkan – September 19, 2018

As my work with SPI this summer came to an end I took time to reflect on the transformations of SPI since my visit in 2017. With my CSGC grant, I was able to provide for the “Children and Youth Summer Activities Program” carried out over 10 weeks between July 1st and September 17th. The program reaches around 70 children and youth between the ages of 3 and 17.

Inside the small 3-floored apartment are several classes ranging from art, photography, music, computers, and women’s craft. In the basement everyday I could hear little voices laughing and singing nursery rhymes in the playroom full of children whose mothers had gone off to work. I was able to provide support for the art and science clubs as well as the Play School program and excursion programs. One excursion that I was able to participate in was the trip to the Princes Island on one of Turkey’s most beautiful islands just an hour off the coast of Istanbul. The focus of the excursion was to teach the youths about conserving natural resources, exploring different forms of life from land to the ocean, and providing them fun water games and activities.

SPI’s mission to help rebuild the lives of those displaced by conflict and support them with community development, education, and empowerment continues to inspire me to create change and further my work with them. My journey with SPI was uplifting, heartwarming, and inspiring. My commitment to service and want to create change in the communities I become a part of continues to push me to work harder and strive further to make a strong impact.