The Power of Partaking in Community Service

default article imageWant to know something that will instantly make you feel better? The answer is community service.

I know you might not have been expecting this answer, as it is not an easy fix as getting food or hearing a good joke, but it will make a significant difference in your life. Community service provides students with the ability to apply academic learning to real life situations.

During my high school career, it was a requirement to do a certain number of hours of community service each year. Now at first, this was a burden. Who wants to spend their time going to a particular location to do work for free?

It wasn’t until I arrived at the food kitchen, the park to plant flowers, or the elderly home when I realized how important what I was doing really was. Serving and helping others made me feel good. It was instant gratification. Helping feed the homeless made me appreciate the food on my table, something I had taken for granted beforehand.

Engaging in an act of doing community service or volunteering with a group allows students to gain a sense of community with people who they might not normally interact with.

We live in a world where most people view community service as a punishment, and in most cases, it is. When you get in trouble with the law you might be required to do community service hours for the charges you have received. It may seem like the law is forcing you to be a better person, but in some cases, people actually volunteer to help their community.

 I volunteered at many places throughout high school and college. Along with the soup kitchens, and nursing homes, I volunteered teaching small children to read, and even taught disabled children how to swim. Throughout my time here at Monmouth I have done multiple hours of service, specifically through my participation on the women’s lacrosse team. 

As a team, we have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald house, read to children, wrapped presents for children at the local hospitals, and helped special needs children with hands on activities at The Schroth School.  These experiences were inconvenient at times, but became something that myself and my teammates looked forward to more and more each time. I was proud of the work I was doing and the results that came from it. My teammates and I enjoyed helping people, developing life skills, making contacts, and improving the quality of life of others. Doing this service has made me feel empowered and fulfilled. Partaking in community service has made me a better person. Doing this service has shown the individuals in my life that I have respect for others and that I do not just care about those who are like me.

When you do community service, it shows your compassion for others and your willingness to make their life better. My family and friends believe that through this service, I have become much more patient, and I couldn’t agree more. It’s not always easy when people are different from you. People have problems that you could not even imagine and  they are struggling with things that might not be visible on the surface, but this does not make them any less worthy to be happy and have your help.

People aren’t always going to be like you or have the things that you have. Helping those who are less fortunate, or cannot help themselves, truly can change you. I know for myself, I am transformed knowing that I helped changed someone’s day for the better, even if it didn’t change their life. It’s slowly, but surely, changed mine.

I suggest getting involved with your community. It’s easier than it seems and is so rewarding. It truly is something that you don’t regret doing and more importantly, you help make others’ lives better. Monmouth has many volunteer opportunities on and around campus that are easy to get involved in.

One program that students can get involved in is the Food Recovery Network, which is food that is left over from our dining hall, is donated to local food banks to help feed the less fortunate. Another is the food pantry located in the lower level of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. Here, students can take food bags home if they do not have access to food or donate food for others.

There are other opportunities available that are sent out by email to every student on campus, these change and vary depending on the week but are readily available for students to participate and volunteer. There is always a person or an organization that could use the help of others. Get out there and help yourself by helping those around you.