What’s a site visit that stands out in your memory?
The first time you visit an organization that deals with disability is an intense experience for anyone. My first time was at the premises of Cerebral Palsy Greece - “Open Door,” a nonprofit that cares for people with cerebral palsy by providing comprehensive services to children and adults and ongoing support to their families, always aiming to ensure social integration for people with disabilities. I thought I knew what I was going to see in such a space, but I did not expect how I would experience it. It turned out to be a very emotional experience.
We visited a session of occupational therapy for children, therapeutic swimming, and music therapy. We were also fortunate to attend the rehearsal of the show that was planned for the end of the “academic” year, a show with children and adults with cerebral palsy as cast members. It was extremely powerful to witness the joy of everyone involved—people with disabilities, their caretakers, and the specialist staff. Talking with the participants, the most obvious takeaway was their strength for life, for unceasing effort, for being positive, for giving care and love.
I learned so much during that day, and whatever may come in life, I will always look up to this group of people because they are truly an example of how all of us should lead our everyday lives and how we should deal with any obstacle that comes ahead.
What are three things you’ve learned since starting work at SNF?
It’s been almost ten years at SNF, but it feels much shorter. I have learned a lot, which I try to keep in mind in all aspects of my life. I hope that these will make me a better human being, not just a better professional:
1. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart. Only when true dedication, not just interest, comes in your effort will the result feel like a true accomplishment and become an actual source of personal fulfilment. This is what we call meraki. And if your heart is in the right place, the end result will be greater.
2. Be grateful for what you have. My work, through our collaboration with our grantees, gives me the opportunity to witness firsthand many fortunate moments in life as well as many unfortunate. We should appreciate what we have, for there are people who live in different circumstances than us. I always take pride in the achievements of our grantees, always try to learn from their experience and understand their stories, and constantly try to reevaluate my perceptions and lifestyle.
3. Giving means sharing. It means working together and contributing to something great. It means listening and connecting with people, and it is ultimately very fulfilling and heartwarming—what more could anyone ask for?
Anna Maria Kosmoglou, Program Officer, Athens
Athens downtown dweller. Loves to dance, all kinds of music but especially swing. Always interested in learning something new.