West student fundraises for change


Peyton Osborne

When senior Bashir Khalil’s friends came to him with an organization called Diversity for Change KC, he said he knew he wanted to get involved.  “I was like, I’d love to help like why not, I’m sitting here comfortably and those people are struggling. It just makes sense,” Khalil said.

“The United States pulled out of Afghanistan because they could do no more to help the Afghan people and to help their cause. We made treaties with the Taliban in the past couple years. We tried to become more, I guess kind of learn more about, you know that part of the world. I think before it was like you know, we didn’t understand,” world history teacher Nathan Parrish said. 

After U.S. troops pulled out of Afghanistan and left the Taliban to re-take power, people who helped U.S. troops were left to fight on their own or to try to leave. “When you’re there fighting, and you don’t know who is your friend, who is your foe, like, who are the bad guys, who are the good guys. You make a lot of enemies because you make a lot of mistakes. So I think the United States, kind of how we were viewed in that part of the world, was not very good,” Parrish said. 

Diversity for Change KC started a fundraiser for those immigrants trying to leave Afghanistan. “Why wouldn’t you just want to help, even if it’s a small change. Me and my two friends that are in charge of Diversity for Change KC, we wanted to make an impact and they know some people out there in Afghanistan and they wanted to help them get out,” Khalil said. 

Mary Humphreys, ‘TitansDoSomething’ sponsor, said, “I think anytime students take the initiative to start something, you know, do anything really, I think that it lets other students know that that’s a process they can do.”

Khalil also had a personal connection to helping those coming from Afghanistan. “Considering that I’m a Libyan American, I mean my parents emigrated from Libya to here and I have quite a lot of other minority friends from all around the world that also immigrated here. I know how much of a struggle that is and look at us, we’re all sitting living comfortably,” Khalil said.

Khalil and his friends need a way to get in contact with families and to give them the funds. “My friend’s mom pretty much had a connection with, her name is Karen Craft, a retired U.S. Army vet, and my friend who lives in New Jersey, his mom knows her and she pretty much is working on the ground there in Afghanistan and trying to get people over here,” Khalil said. 

Khalil and his friends decided that she would be a safe way to guarantee the money from the fundraiser went to helping those Afghans.

“Originally the fundraiser was like, half [of the money raised] goes to the organization that Karen Craft is running to like get people out, and the other half goes once they actually make it to the U.S. or wherever they’re going, [to] like their living expenses and like being able to find a situation to settle down and start their new life, which is obviously like a very hard thing to do,” Khalil said.

Humphreys said, “Those funds for sure, I think a lot of those families when they get here, a lot of them have come with next to nothing. When they come to this country, just trying to rebuild or restart, you know, a lot of them have families, small children, and just any kind of help, I think is beneficial.” Even though the fundraiser has concluded, Khalil said they are still taking donations which will go directly to the families.

Just like Khalil and his friends did, there are ways to get involved in fundraisers like Khalil’s within school. “Anyone can join it [TitansDoSomething] at any time. All they have to do is just come to me, right here [in room] 2149. There’s information outside the classroom for them to join our remind or Schoology. It’s simple, just come to a meeting. A lot of times our meetings are actual service projects and so when you come into the room there’s something that we do related to service,” Humphreys said. 

There are still other ways for students to get involved and help their communities. “On your own, there’s tons of things out there with the internet and social media. Tons of different things that students can get involved in. Even here in the local community, shelters, things like that, volunteer hours, but I think it’s just important to know what’s out there and how you can help, and then making that decision to go out and actually do something to help the community,” Humphreys said.

While the fundraiser was just one, Diversity for Change KC has things going almost all the time. “We don’t only fundraise, we just spread the word about stuff around the world, bring[ing] awareness about certain topics and like accepting diversity, because I feel like that’s a big topic. Especially when you look around the world right now like all these issues with racism and not accepting people so I felt like it’d be the perfect thing for me to get involved in, because I feel like it’s really important,” Khalil said. Khalil also wants to use his own experiences to educate people firsthand.

“All three of us are involved in sports a lot so we like to have a lot of charity tournaments that surround sports. In the winter here we are going to have a soccer tournament which is for charity and stuff like that,” Khalil said.

Humphreys said that “DoSomething” is an organization throughout the world where students and young people can create their own campaigns that are meaningful to them. 

If you are interested in helping out with Diversity for Change KC or just want to keep up with what’s going on, Khalil said they have an Instagram to follow and a website where you can continue to donate to the Afghan families.