Why Community Service???
“There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your live those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.” -NIKKI GIOVANNI
What makes a person a philanthropist? Under what standards do the general public consider a person a ‘philanthropist?’ Must he or she donate thousands of dollars and have hundreds and hundreds of community service hours? Most importantly, why is giving back to the community so substantial anyway???
I don’t have all the answers. And most certainly, I don’t have a long list of community service projects compared to some nor several foundations that I have donated money to. But I can definitely answer this: Why is community service so important/why is it important to me?
- No act of kindness – big or small – should be taken lightly. Whether you wrote a check for $2,000 and donated it to Haiti after the earthquake, whether you gave half of your clothing away to a homeless shelter, whether you smiled at a stranger walking by — you never know exactly what amount of impact the little things you do can have on another person. Just like Aesop’s Fable about the lion and the mouse: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
- People shouldn’t collect service hours just for fame/recognition, to make their resume look good, just to qualify for a certain position or because your organization requires you to do so. I feel like it should be in our hearts to want to dedicate our time, energy, possessions, and prayers to people who are less fortunate than us. Yes, it is definitely a good idea to keep track of projects you have worked on or foundations you’ve assisted. But if that is your primary reason for doing good things for others, I don’t respect that as much as someone who performs acts of kindness from their heart. As people who are able to use our minds and our bodies as we wish, I feel like we can find time to help others who may be in need.
- When people think of community service, they probably imagine themselves walking along a highway picking up garbage, working at a soup kitchen serving homeless people, and reading boring stories to old people who can barely hear anyhow. But that’s not true! Giving back to your community can be really fun. For instance, the most fun things I have done to give back were getting together a team to play mud volleyball where the team entry fees were donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, leading a summer camp for Girl Scouts at a local daycare for girls ages 4 to 10, and working at a festival downtown helping the bands and the vendors set up.
- There is no excuse. Just because you feel like you are not good at working with children or with the elderly, or that you are not a “people-person” enough to be able to work with the less fortunate, or that you can’t stand to do work outdoors, there is NO excuse for not engaging in community service 🙂 Whatever skill or interest you have, I guarantee there is an opportunity waiting for you. For example, there is clerical work at non-profit companies that can be done, you can have a yard sale selling your own unwanted items to donate the money to a church, and you could also just collect change from your wallet, car, couch, and purses! 🙂
Note: This blog post is NOT to make anyone feel like they are bad people for not having a big passion for giving back to the community! I only wrote this to let you know that YOU CAN! Despite what you think, you can do alot. Even the smallest things could help. Like I said, a simple smile could make someone’s day — more than you can imagine. And if you don’t do anything else, just mention the less fortunate in your prayers before you go to bed. Okay? That is all 🙂
P.S. Giving back is so rewarding!!! You will feel really good about yourself, because you will have made someone’s day or changed their life with one simple act of kindness!!!