Why Community Service is Worth It

carolljamess By carolljamess, 27th Apr 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2tv0vi2-/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Daily Life

Make conclusions by your own, It's just my opinion and experience

Why Community Service is Worth It

I went to a Catholic high school, where all of the students had to clock at least 75 hours of community service to graduate. They recently upped this standard to 100 hours. The worst irony about that is I didn’t start doing real community service until I came here to Boston University. At my high school, literally anything counted as community service, especially if it promoted the high school in some way. I worked in the school bookstore and gave tours. So back then, community service was just pointless work that didn’t really benefit anyone in need (it helped increase our school’s profits, but they hardly needed that with $12,000 tuition per student….) and I never intended to do it after high school, because, despite hearing and believing that service was supposed to be rewarding, I never felt very rewarded after herding around cranky parents and uninterested thirteen year old for two hours straight. I’m sure there were girls at my high school who actually did do real community service, but for most of them, it was doing things like leading student tours or going to Sunday school (arguably, neither of which are very beneficial for the people involved).
Cities are teeming with people in real need, and Boston University has long recognized the needy in Boston. The school isn’t separated from the city at all; there are no distinctions, no fence, between the city and campus; walking to class I am just as likely to see Boston residents on their way to the library or the gym as if they were students. And the city has adopted BU as an essential part of it. Every year, BU gives back to the Boston community by starting off the year with FYSOP pre-academic program that employs hundreds of incoming freshman to volunteer in the city. Many of the student clubs and activities perform service as well, and campus is teeming with movements for political change and equality. After all, one of BU’s strongest points is its diversity. Heck, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is our most famous alum. But, enough about how much I adore my school (and no, I didn’t get paid to say this, I’m just a dewy eyed freshman)…because the sad truth is, when I came here, I didn’t expect to get involved in BU’s legacy of service; I would be too busy with classes and friends, I thought; but, I had unknowingly just entered a place where engaging with and serving the city and the world is pretty much impossible NOT to do.
I first got involved with community service through Dumbledore’s Army, a club that I immediately joined because of the Harry Potter connection; I’ve been a Harry Potter addict since age ten; I’m still an HP junky. I didn’t know that Dumbledore’s Army was a chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, an international nonprofit organization that helps serve the community and promote progress. HPA deals with prominent issues such as education, women’s rights, gay rights, depression, and childhood hunger. Through events hosted by Dumbledore’s Army, we raise money for the HPA (tomorrow we are having a Butterbeer sale at the student union; if you are a BU student come visit!) and we also go to an elementary school every Friday and watch the after school students and play games and engage with them.
Giving up your Friday to go play with little kids? Well, let me tell you, I didn’t think it’d be awesome either, but seeing a smile light up a child’s face and even being able to play recess as if you were seven again, not seventeen, really lights up the end of long week of labs, lectures, work at essaylab, cleaning, cooking, etc. I’d so rather be playing ultimate kickball dodge ball with 8 year olds than waking up hung over the next morning. It’s the best feeling in the world to just have fun - isn’t that what living all about? And no judgment on the partiers - the volunteering bus gets back around 7, so you still have some time to grab dinner and go out if that’s your thing; but don’t be surprised if you find that chasing around first graders is better than being hit on by some smelly half-drunk frat dude.
The other time I volunteered it was also for kids - my Freshman 101 group, which is a class specifically designed to help freshman adjust to the college and the Boston lifestyle, went to Cradles to Crayons, a Boston nonprofit that provides clothes, toys, etc. to homeless and low income children. Three hours spent sorting through some of the most adorable kid’s clothes I’ve ever seen, and making sure it was in as good of a condition as if I were giving it to my little cousin. Doesn’t sound fun? I really enjoyed it, especially after a stressful, hurtful morning. Thinking of the kids who would have some nice clothes, and remembering that growing up I often wore hand me down or Goodwill clothing (I fully embrace it now - I’d much rather go to the consignment store than the mall) I realized that there were bigger, more important things in this world than people’s petty drama, and that at the heart of it all, we just want to love and be loved, to give and receive. And giving is the greatest gift. Cliché, I know, but true - I came back feeling healed, feeling strong, knowing that as small as I was, a child somewhere would be smiling at the little fashionista outfit I had put together for her, or a cold boy would get a new coat. It felt incredible.
So, yes , volunteering – the real thing does have tremendous benefits all around. A pebble in the water makes a ripple effect, so send out good ripples, and you’ll get the same back. No matter how much time you have on your hands, consider taking a Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon off from the parties or from shopping , and see how much better it makes you feel to give back. I didn’t want to try it; but now, I’m hooked.

Tags

Community Service, Volunteering

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author avatar carolljamess
Hi! I have a few stories that I want to share, that's why I'm here

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author avatar Len A
21st Jun 2017 (#)

carolljamess. I enjoyed reading your experiences in meeting with and serving others. I am also glad you have learned this at an early age. I retired after working in counseling for 40 years, helping Veterans get jobs. It is gratifying when someone tells you that you have made a difference in their life.

I always gave credit back to the person, telling them their success was their doing; I only gave them the mechanism that they used to make themselves a success.

As you speak of the joy you experienced in performing your community service, I am reminded of ECC 11:1, "Send your bread forth upon the waters; for after many days you will find it.: Solomon speaks of the good we do returning to us as a blessing. Today we hear, "What goes around comes around." Most of the time it is used negatively, but if you are caring for others, you will find a good return even if you are not seeking it. Journal your experiences now so that you can use them later on a resume or in an interview as you step out into the world to continue to make a difference.

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