She pointed to the September 2015 photo of Aylan Al-Kurdi, three-years-old, which captured the reality of many refugees. The photo, which gripped the heart and conscience of those all over the world, showed the tiny body of Al-Kurdi washed up on the shore of Turkey after drowning along with his mother and older brother in a failed attempt to reach the nearby Greek island of Kos from Bodrum, their most direct passage into the European Union.
"When I saw that image, I absolutely broke down…I did not see that child, I saw myself," she said, explaining that after everything she's gone through, she "vividly" relates to what these families are experiencing.
"There's thousands of Iraqi Christians in the northern Erbil that are living in the same situation I was. It's hard not to feel that connection, to feel that that's me," she said, adding that there's also the aspect "that I survived, but that child died."
Shabo said she wants to take "all the goodness" she has received through God and her faith "and to give it back to the people" in difficulty, as well as those still living in Iraq.
In fact, she's already jumped in, and has started working in crisis intervention and volunteers on a help line for suicide. She also collaborates with an organization called the "Shlama Foundation," which was established after a peace rally she helped organize in 2014 when ISIS attacked Mosul.
It was through the rally that close friends of hers created the foundation, which aims to find out the concrete needs of those in Iraq and raise money to fund specific projects on the ground.
She explained that for a long time she was "ashamed" of her story, and didn't want to tell people the conditions of her birth, but it was her parents who insisted "this is who you are, and you're going to keep it alive."
"It's so hard to do that in the secular world of America or a lot of these other countries," Shabo said, noting that in Iraq "it was easy" since many come from similar situations, but that many she knows in the U.S., including her nieces and nephews, are struggling to hold on to their heritage.
Even keeping the Chaldean language of Aramaic – an ancient language dating back to the time of Christ – is a challenge.
Aramaic "was the language that Jesus Christ spoke," she said, explaining that the prospect of a Middle East without Christians is "a tragedy, because that's where Jesus is from."
"That can't happen. I don't want to see that happen. I don't want to live in that world," she said, cautioning that "if we don't do something about it, then unfortunately that will be our reality."
While she wants Christianity in Iraq and the Middle East to live on, Shabo admitted that the uncertainty of the situation is hard for many to deal with, and that even she and her family have a hard time accepting the decision of their relatives who have decided to stay.
She said that after the Baghdad bombing that claimed her cousin's life, her family called "and were yelling at them: 'Why did you stay? Why didn't you go to Erbil? Why are you still there? Get out! Your son just died and you're in a hospital.'"
"I don't know that I'll ever be able to go back into the same world that it was," she said, but noted that despite Iraq's bloody history of violence and persecution "our people have stood their ground."
"That gives me hope, and I feel like if we hold on to that hope and hold on to that faith, that there will be a world where I can return to and it will still continue."
Shabo explained that events like World Youth Day can help serve as catalysts for those who want to do something to help, thanks to the global representation of youth as well as the connections people are able to make.
"As powerless as you feel as an individual, when you connect with other people who have that same passion that have that same desire, God works wonders," she said, explaining that through World Youth Day she was able to meet people she had been corresponding with in Iraq, but had never met in person.
She was also able to meet the group of 300 Chaldean youth who traveled from Iraq to Krakow for the July 26-31 event, one of whom was from her hometown.
When Shabo asked the group for something from Iraq, they gave her a scarf with the Iraq flag on it. In return, when the group asked her for something from the U.S., Shebo gave them her necklace and bracelets.
"It's such a blessing" to be at World Youth Day, she said, explaining that a cousin whom she had never met before was also there, and she was trying to find a time to meet him.
"It's good to know that other people are listening and connecting with the story," she said. "There's no words to describe that, when you feel that, because that comes from God. We are truly one Body in Christ. It's amazing I can't put it into words."
This article was originally published on CNA Aug. 7, 2016.