This year’s inaugural "Make A Difference Day" saw more than 190 students and staff members from the College Preparatory Program (CPP) donating more than 700 hours of their time visiting various social and health related projects.
These projects were conducted in association with five sponsoring agencies operating in the greater Dammam/Khobar area: the Saudi Cancer Foundation, Mabarrat Al-Ahsan, Dar Al-Khair, Dhahran General Hospital and the Dammam Correctional Facility. Activities included promoting breast cancer awareness, preparing and distributing food parcels to the needy, visiting long-term disabled patients and organizing games for interned youth.
For CPP students and staff, the organizations and the people they met will live long in their memory. The 25 students who visited the Dammam Correctional Facility were able to meet and spend time with boys aged 12 – 17 whose lives have so far taken a very different path to their own. The Director of the facility, Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Muqbil, expressed his appreciation for the visit and the hope that the CPP students would serve as positive role models for the interned youth at the facility.
Thirty girls and six staff members visited Mabarat Al-Ahsan office in Thogba where they dropped off the students’ donations and took a tour of the place. The girls then visited seven of the needy families’ houses and even had a chance to talk to the family members and inquire about their wellbeing. These visits proved to be both rewarding and thought-provoking for both the girls and accompanying staff.
Perhaps the most sobering activity was the visit to the disability ward at the Dhahran General Hospital. Students and staff came face to face with the harsh reality of motor vehicle accidents and long-term disability. They spent time with patients paralyzed from the neck down and patients who had been on the ward more than twenty years. As Jim Sullivan, a CPP teacher accompanying the students, commented on the return journey, “The boys were awfully quiet on the way back. A rewarding yet deeply humbling experience for all concerned."