Paras 'itchyhands' Dagli
E-mail addresses often reveal very little about people, maybe just their name. But every once in awhile, an intriguing one comes along, like firstname.lastname@example.org, which belongs to Paras Dagli, a CharityFocus volunteer.
"One day, the word 'itchyhands' came to mind. I thought it sounded good, so I registered the e-mail address and the URL, itchyhands.com," explains Paras, who has yet to find the time to set up his Web site but hopes to do it in the near future. "For me, itchyhands means that I am always wanting to get my hands on something."
Currently, Paras has his hands in a number of projects, both inside and outside of CharityFocus. The 24-year-old Bombay native is getting his Computer Science degree at Cal State Hayward with the plan to eventually become a teacher. Even with the maximum allowed course load of 20 units, he still finds time to volunteer with CharityFocus, whether it's helping build the Web site for IGC, a network of anti-racism media, or helping epilepsy patients through the LAB Epilepsy Research project. Paras says he volunteers because he truly believes in the organization's dual mission of helping others help others and building the notion of service within yourself.
"CharityFocus is not only about creating Web sites for non-profits," says Paras. "The true beauty of CharityFocus is much deeper than what most people see on charityfocus.org or read in the press. It is in its ability to touch each individual with the beauty of giving."
It is Paras' own sense of giving that has caught the notice of his friends and co-volunteers. "Paras looks like a common creature of humankind from the outside. But once you get to know him, you find that he is actually the most modest person you will get to meet in your lifetime," says Divya Patel. "His skills have gone way beyond IT and have helped many organizations vocalize their plea for help through the Internet. Paras' achievements seem to grow faster than himself, and make a significant difference in people's lives everyday."
One such event took place a few years back, remembers Paras' friend, Ashish Mehta. Paras was following the Berkeley band, The Donnas, and was sure they would become a big hit, so he bought the domain name, thedonnas.com. When the band did strike it big, the members decided to add a Web presence. They were sure they would have to pay a lot for the domain name as it was already registered.
Instead, they got Paras on the phone, says Ashish. "They asked, 'How much will it cost for us to get the domain name from you?' remembers Ashish. "Paras said, 'You can have it.' That's it. There was silence at the other end of the phone."
A selfless action like this epitomizes Paras, says Ashish. "This is rare. Normally, a person would jump to this opportunity to make money. To me, this spirit of giving is exemplary."
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© CharityFocus 2003