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World Mag > WM Summer 2014 edition > Giving back Column by Diana Kassas

Giving back Column by Diana Kassas

Diana Kassas Class of 2007
Diana Kassas Class of 2007

As I was entering my teens and startedon the road to adulthood, one of the best things that happened to me was discovering Community Service.


As the years went by, it became more and more a part of my life, hopefully making for a better world and certainly making my own life better!

I started off by going to the Children’s Respiratory Hospital in Bucharest, where Iwas truly shocked with the conditions the children were living in, and the negativeatmosphere that existed. I realized there was nothing I could do myself to change the conditions but I decided to try tochange the atmosphere into a more happyand positive one. I did this by organizingbirthday, Christmas, Easter and othercelebratory parties for the children where Iwould raise money to buy them presents, clothes and other necessities.

I then moved on to the elderly homes where it was a whole new experience. Imet people whose life stories impressedme. Again, here I found the atmosphere tobe a very sad one, therefore my group andI tried to change it a little. We would go for visits every weekend and talk to each individual and we would ask them what they needed and tried to bring them the things they wished for.

Next, I went to an orphanage where therewere kids from the age of one month to the age of 17. Problems here varied fromage to age. Here we went with supplies,toys and clothes. We tried to give the littleones affection and tried to be friends withthe teens.

In 11th grade, I started working with the children from Victor Babes who were HIV positive. This is where I experienced themost sadness. The reason for this was because sometimes with these children, there was nothing you could do but make them as comfortable as possible until theypassed away. I remember a little boy whowas on his death bed and had asked mefor a set of drums, so I went and bought him one. However, when I returned to thehospital, he had just passed away a few minutes before. This was one of the mosttragic days I experienced.

After gaining experience with communityservice, I decided to open my own community service group within AISB.My group was called Vaslui School Group. The scope was to renovate and supply for schools in the rural areaof Romania, more specifically in thebirth-town of my mother, Falciu (small village). The institutions ranged fromkindergartens to high-schools. In 2 years,we managed to renovate and supply for two kindergartens, one school and one high school.

I was given awards for my work, but thereal rewards came from the smiles, hugsand thank you’s I received from those whom I was able to help.

As a continuation of my high-school community service, once back in Bucharest from my studies, I found that Hope for Health still worked inside Victor Babes with HIV patients. The young patients who had been infected as children through blood transfusions when there were no means of testing blood, and through the use of dirty syringes, werenow older, and still suffering.

I found them poverty stricken, in need ofhelp with medicines, supplementary food, help with baby needs and so many otherthings. Once again, I felt called to “DoSomething”.

I decided a gala evening at my parents’restaurant would be the best way to raise  funds, and hopefully raise awareness as well.

I was called upon by Mrs. Murray, whowas the community service leader forseveral years at AISB (and who introducedme to community service), and who is still very involved with Hope for Healthand other groups, to help her organize an event to help the NGO. The school would be involved both through sales of tickets and raising awareness of this issue.

I felt it more appropriate that Mary Beal, president of Hope for Health shares herimpression of the event:

“First of all, profound thanks to Diana and her family for their caring and sharing. The event itself was stunning, so much timeand effort given to making it an evening to remember. A brief film was presentedas an introduction to the problems faced by these young HIV patients. A delicious dinner, punctuated by entertainment and presentations. All in all, a successful night that will make the coming months easier for those patients in our care.

I would also like to comment on community service at AISB while given this opportunity. Through the years, I have strongly felt that community service is equally important for AISB students as for our patients. It enables them to experience “another world” that they would not otherwise know or understand in any way.

Just as Diana’s experiences stayed withher and so totally influenced the amazing,concerned young adult she has become,
I hope that however brief the time with community service, these students will grow into adults who care! Then someday, when someone like myself asks for help with charity work... Then they will remember that ‘other world’ and help!”

Read the entire WORLD Magazine Summer 2014 edition here.

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