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Guest Blog: Burcu Kilinc, ASEB Intern

Micheal Head Shot_2This month I’m delighted to turn my blog over to my first guest blogger Burcu Kilinc, who is one of our Collabriv interns. Part of our vision here at ASEB is to expand our mission beyond the region and into the international sphere. Our partnership with Collabriv, an organization that brings university students and early-career professionals from all nations to the U.S. to learn collaboration skills, is an important step in that direction. In March, four young people from Turkey, Zambia, Singapore, and Belgium walked through our doors, eager to learn what we do at ASEB, and to share their own knowledge as they collaborate with our staff to develop our marketing, outreach, social media, and training initiatives. Without further ado, here is Burcu:

burcuThere are so many things I want to share with you, it’s hard to get started. So I’ll begin with a brief introduction.

My name is Burcu Kilinc and I was born in Turkey 26 years ago. I am doing a master’s degree in International Political Economy. While I was working on my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, I began volunteering at Habitat, an organization that works to increase youth awareness for sustainable development and livable environments, youth participation in decision making, and to involve youth in partnerships with governments, local authorities, and the private sector.

After graduating, I worked professionally at Habitat for three years, traveling throughout Turkey and the rest of the world. One of the many things I learned is that, if you want to change something big, you should start small, in your own community. Individual acts have a huge effect on the big picture. I have great faith in my generation, who—despite social and political problems—have already started to change their communities with their vision and energy. I believe that if young people are given the chance, they can have a positive impact on the world around them.

[pullquote]We want to change the way people think about memory loss and to expand the public’s awareness about how we can care for people with dementia. One visit to ASEB will change your mind.”[/pullquote]I joined the Collabriv program to improve my professional skills and to learn how NGOs function in the United States. I wanted to understand how nonprofits in the U.S. give people the opportunity to serve their communities, and I wanted to devote my own energies to an organization that betters society.

When Dwight Wilson, CEO and co-founder of Collabriv, told me that I was going to work with ASEB, my first reaction was, “Okay, but I don’t know anything about Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.” Dwight told me that I would be working with an amazing leader, Micheal Pope, and that I would be helping with ASEB’s re-branding campaign and promotion for their 25th Anniversary fundraiser. He said that I would love it, and he was right. I’m so glad I trusted him because from the first day I began working at ASEB, I saw what a truly special place it is.

My stereotypes about elder care and dementia are shattered with each passing day. ASEB does so many amazing things not only for people who live with memory loss, but for the whole community. Working with a woman like Micheal Pope—a mother, a leader, and an inspiration—gives me so much hope for myself and for the future of the world. Her passion is contagious. Every intern feels her energy which she shares so freely with everyone she meets. It makes you want to do your best, to give of yourself, to get involved, and to make a difference.

Times passes so quickly. I have already spent one month at ASEB. I learn something new every day and am so grateful that I work for an organization where people are happy with their jobs and come to work every morning with a smile and a hello for their coworkers and the people who participate at the center. The other interns and I come from different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs, but we all want to contribute our best to ASEB. We have so many ideas! One of our goals is to share our enthusiasm with everyone we meet, and to spread the word about what a wonderful organization ASEB is. We want to change the way people think about memory loss and to expand the public’s awareness about how we can care for people with dementia. One visit to ASEB will change your mind. Please stop by and share your feelings with us!

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