PGK Spotlight: Dahnia Chalak

Now that our Summer Service Series has wrapped up, we’ve been hearing from families across the country about the ways they got to spend their time doing good for others.

Today, we’re highlighting Dahnia Chalak, a 10-year-old from Upton, MA, on why she decided to get involved with the Summer Service Series and what she learned from her time. We recently interviewed Dahnia about her experience, and want to share what this PGK kid with a big heart has to say.

Which service activities did you get involved in?

I participated in the Color Kindness Challenge, making dog treats for the MSPCA, and The Jared Box.

Altogether, I made eight cards for the Color Kindness Challenge, 24 dog treats (my dog Koda even got to test them!), and one Jared Box. 

What was your favorite session?

All of the sessions were my favorite, but if I had to pick one, it was making the dog treats. I love to bake and cook and I just knew that dogs in shelters would enjoy the peanut butter and pumpkin oat treats. My dog Koda was rescued from Tennessee after being abandoned and I know that other dogs would appreciate feeling loved. 

At the same time, I know that the cards that I created and decorated with nice messages would help our health care workers feel nice to know that they are appreciated. 

I made the Jared Box for a girl my age. If I was sick in the hospital, I would wish that something would make me feel better too. I just know the Jared box will make a girl smile and feel happy as she opens the box and be surprised that all the fun games, toys, and books are meant for her.

What kept you coming back to participate?

There were so many creative ideas and I got inspired by the kids and adults who also participated in each session.

I loved the positive energy that the leaders brought to the Zoom call. They were so welcoming and I immediately felt comfortable, like I knew them for a long time.

I looked forward to each new activity because I knew from the first one that all would be just as fun and rewarding. I learned so much about each place and why it was important to help.

What were your biggest takeaways from the service activities?

I learned that if you spend a small amount of time to make something that someone or an animal needs, that you can make them feel better than before. It’s worth taking time out of our day to make someone smile. 

I can also help animals who don’t have a home feel happy and loved. It doesn’t take a lot of money to help, only being creative and time from our day.

What was the single most important thing you learned?

The single most important thing that I learned was that one person helping people or animals can definitely make a difference to many people or animals.

My dad had surgery at Mass General Hospital and he brought the cards that I made to thank the nurses, doctors, and other health care workers for keeping us healthy and for being brave.

They were very happy to receive them. It felt good to know that I was able to make someone’s day better and for them to know that we’re very grateful to have them.  

The children’s center in Mass General was very happy to receive their very first Jared Box. They want to learn more and be a place that receives more Jared boxes too. It’s difficult now during COVID for the children to use the toys in the hospital so receiving new gifts will help in a big way. 

Because they were so thankful, I’m looking to make more boxes to bring to children in Mass General Hospital. I also learned once I hear of an idea or an activity that is great, I can continue to do my part in the future.

How did participating in the service sessions make you feel?

I felt excited waiting for each week to learn and make something new to help someone or something. I loved going out to buy the supplies and to participate in the sessions because everyone was warm and welcoming.

I felt that they were happy that we joined and were willing to help. The sessions had fun activities and I was happy to meet new people who also had the same interest as me. I liked that even though we were apart, we were working together for the same cause.

Choose a Cause and Make a Difference

Thank you for your time and dedication, Dahnia! 

The Summer Service Series has ended, but there are still plenty of ways to get involved in virtual service activities. Our upcoming Create the Change Week—November 7-15, 2020—will be fully online and perfect for getting involved from home, no matter where you live!

Learn more about Create the Change Week and sign up to receive more information!