Participant in the spotlight: Diane Barghouthy

Did you know that Amsterdam is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world with 180 nationalities? We couldn’t be happier that some of these non-Dutchies have also found their way to Serve the City. Diane is one of them, and as a volunteer and participant in the Reversed Advent Calendar, she’s passionate about contributing to the city she now calls home.

After moving to Amsterdam from the United States, Diane found it hard to get in touch with local volunteering organisations as a non-Dutch speaker. ‘But I found a home at Serve the City. They’re very welcoming to internationals.’ And as board member of the American Women’s Club, Diane never shies away from promoting the initiatives. I’m always looking for opportunities for the club to support the community. Serve the City is organising so much already that I’d rather join their initiatives than organise our own..  

An easy and mindful way to give back

While the Reversed Advent Calendar is an easy and affordable way to help, Diane is very intentional about her approach. ‘There are multiple moments throughout the month of December that I think about what to put in the box and who’s on the receiving end of it. The time and thought I put into it makes it so much more meaningful. It really sticks with me.’ Diane is very aware of her privilege and that the receivers have seen much worse circumstances than she has. ‘When you really take this in, you realise that adding a few more groceries to your cart can really add up for someone in different circumstances.’ 

Items that show you care

Diane likes the mix of Dutch and the more typical items on the Reversed Advent Calendar. ‘With my box, I also want to show that I care. With the item from your home, for instance, I want it to feel tender and welcoming. Receiving this box needs to feel like an act of care and support, not charity. In short, I hope I can provide a little brightness in these dark days.’

Spreading the joy

After having participated in the Reversed Advent Calendar last year, Diane got 13 other people to sign up through the club this year. I’ve also shared an open Tikkie for those who’d like to contribute but don’t have time. I’ll put extra boxes together with the money and drop them off together with my own.’ And if she had access to a car, Diane would also offer to pick up all

Would you like to join this year’s Reversed Advent Calendar? You can sign up here 

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