BY ANTHONY O’REILLY
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: As immigrants from countries such as Guyana, Trinidad and others in the West Indies come to New York, they often find themselves in a state of culture shock. Many have few resources to work with and lack the ability to keep in contact with their families back home.
Kris Gounden works to get these people in place in the Ozone Park/Richmond Hill area.
Gounden does not work with a formal volunteer organization, rather, he says, he’s just working with the few resources and manpower that he has to help those in the community.
Gounden said he’s not looking to publicize his service to the community and has previously never spoken to the media about these efforts.
BACKGROUND: Gounden was born and raised in the Ozone Park/Richmond Hill area. As a full-time job, Gounden works as the director at Line Air Airlines Inc.
INSPIRATION: Gounden spoke of his father, who started this type of community service back in the 1970s. “I’m just continuing the work that he started off with,” Gounden said.
FAVORITE MEMORY: Gounden remembered a time when one of his neighbors, who he said was of Irish descent, was sick and he took care of her and her house. “At one point I was actually her legal guardian,” he said. Gounden said he enjoys this memory because it shows how people of different cultures and ethnicities can work together.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Gounden sees the lack of formal support from local politicians as a major roadblock to helping the people of his community. He said often it’s up to the citizens to stick together to work on the problems of their community.
- Star of Queens: Suzanne Karl, chair, board of directors, Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy
- Star of Queens: John Cori, founder, Friends of Rockaway
- Star of Queens: Shani Faure, P.S. 140 PTA president