What is community service?
For some, community service means lending a helping hand at the local food bank or sharing time with a child struggling to learn how to read. It can mean reaching out to find as many blood donors or trying to find donors for a particular program that serves victims of domestic violence. Community service is giving time and talent to serve the needs of the people around. For me, community service is giving love to people who are in need (a definition that is quite broad, but I believe in being as inclusive as possible).
At my service organization’s retreat this weekend, we reflected on this question for well over an hour. If it were up to us, we could have continued talking about the topic for even more! It was truly inspiring to hear the different experiences and insights that each woman had.
For those who have no idea what a service organization is, allow me to explain. A service organization is a student group of volunteers who commit to directly serving the disadvantaged in the greater Los Angeles community. Service organizations are wonderful tight-knit groups that foster greater reflection on the experiences of service. Obviously, it is not necessary to be in any organization to go out in to the community and lend a helping hand to those who need it most. However, having the support and solidarity of a group of like-minded people certainly does not hurt.
I am so incredibly blessed to be educated at a university where service organizations and the importance of service is nurtured, a university where the motto of educating men and women for others is a reality and not just a flowery statement, a university that not only makes it a point to value community service but also actively give back to the community and in turn, learn more about the world and ourselves.
We may just be college students, and many of us may still be figuring out what to major in and how to cook eggs. But we are college students doing a little bit of good. We’re doing a little bit of good where we are. And as Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.