How Has Community Service Impacted Your Life Essay
Volunteering Changed My Life
- Length: 439 words (1.3 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
Community Service is a great opportunity to make a difference in the area you live in. There are so many ways to volunteer. Some people are given chances to do community service when they need to pay off fines for tickets. Most people simply do because they love getting involved. It’s their way of making the community a cleaner, healthier place.
Tutoring kids is one type of community service. I can say from experience teaching kids to learn is a great feeling. I know because I’ve been tutoring kids for almost seven months. You’ll be surprised how it makes you feel. To have one of your students’ parents thank you because there child has never been able to make an “A” in there reading or math class. Just hearing those words lets me know that I am already making a difference. The place that I volunteer at is Casa De Amigos and the children that go there really look up to you. Yes you’re helping them to be able to reach their goals but you’re also teaching them that helping the community can change so many lives.
There are many activities that will help the community. Another way that I have experience is picking up trash. This one is very important because you are helping the environment and town that you live in. So why not help your environment to be able to apply for a scholarship. It’s also a fun way to meet people that enjoy making a difference. Picking up trash is one of the most common types of community service. There are so many volunteers a day picking up trash in their neighborhood and all around town. To be able to get involved all you do is call the Midland City Department and they will be glad to guide you where to go so you can help our community.
Another service that I have done has been to volunteer at the West Campus Hospital gift shop. It was a great experience for me; if I had the time I would make the effort to volunteer again. For people that is good at socializing with others and love organizing I would recommend volunteering at the gift shop.
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The people that work there love having help from others and are very friendly. I did mine during the summer and I can say I enjoyed it. This type of community service is something easy, fun, and a great opportunity to help the hospital.
I know the community has many places where you can volunteer for community service. Volunteering made a huge difference in my life and in the community.
During our increasingly stretched-out holiday season, it's easy to feel a bit cynical about people who suddenly want to do some volunteering. The staff of service organizations often wince at the prospect of receiving more offers of help than they actually need. "Where were you the rest of the year?" they mutter silently.
To be fair, many people are not just a once- or twice-a-year volunteer. In fact, volunteering one's time, service and expertise is on the rise among all age groups. For many, it's an integral part of their lives, an expression of their core values. That's raised a question in my mind: Does volunteering time and service impact the life of the volunteer? And if so, how?
In recent years, I've researched this a bit through seminars we've held at the Center for Progressive Development for volunteers interested in exploring how their volunteering affects their personal and professional lives.
We've found that volunteer activity often reshapes or redirects people's values, perspectives and even their life goals in several ways. It can spur new growth and awareness, both spiritually and emotionally. Sometimes the changes are slight, but clear -- like the person who committed herself to ongoing work with a mission that she had initially chosen at random, in response to her company's suggestion to employees that they consider volunteer service.
In other cases, the impact of volunteer work is more dramatic: changing the company one works for, or, as one man did, changing his career and life direction altogether. The personal impact of volunteering can also trigger a decision to leave one's relationship, after a "values gap" became so visible and sharpened that the relationship could no longer endure.
Of course, volunteering isn't the only source of life changes like these. But people who reflect on the impact of their volunteering do find that their volunteer experience tends to initiate a reexamination of their lives. And that can lead to some unanticipated consequences. In that sense, it can be subversive -- and that's a good thing, in my view.
Many successful, career-oriented men and women openly acknowledge feelings of inner emptiness, a lack of meaning or real human connection in their lives. Those who volunteer sometimes discover that their volunteer work is the only kind of engagement in their lives that feels meaningful to them -- often greater than their career, sometimes more so than their intimate relationships. I've heard similar observations from my psychotherapy patients, as well, over the years. That's a disruptive experience, hard to ignore. But it opens the door to more self-directed growth, regarding your values and life purpose, to becoming a more fully-developed adult.
I think that occurs because volunteering often trigger a new awakening -- for example, of a yearning for positive, authentic connections in your life; or of the reality that beneath surface differences, we're all one; all organs of the same body, so to speak. Interestingly, studies of death camp survivors during the Holocaust have found that most of those who survived attempted to help others in the camps survive, not just themselves.
The reality that all lives are interconnected and interdependent has become ever-more apparent to most people, now, dealing with our post 9/11, post-economic-meltdown world, where a small change anywhere can affect your personal security and well-being. Volunteering often strengthens your fundamental connection with other lives. It broadens your perspective about your own life dilemmas or disappointments, when you encounter others who have it worse off than yourself.
Such consciousness also rebounds to you in the form of more flexibility in the face of changing circumstances. Keep in mind that psychological health and resilience include the capacity for positive engagement and connection with the diverse human community, and for effective life management within this unpredictable, uncertain world.
Moreover, consider this: volunteerism is really just a more organized form of something all of us do all the time, every day. You're always giving of yourself -- the human capacity for empathy -- in some way, in some relationship, all the time -- as parent, partner, worker, or citizen of the planet. In that sense you're always "volunteering," though you may not call it that when it feels like a "natural" function.
An example of the latter perspective is the Buddhist view of compassionate action, which is understood as a natural expression of connection. It's like when you cut your finger, you don't deliberate about whether to bandage it or dither over the cost-benefit equation of doing so. You know your finger is part of you, so you just do it.
When you volunteer, you're rectifying some of the damage from the disconnection and self-interest that pervades our culture today, that fuels so much of the intolerance and fear rising in our tumultuous, unstable world. Whatever you "practice" in daily life always becomes stronger -- for better or for worse. Through service to others, you're defining and "practicing" the kind of person you want to be. And that's the one choice you always have in life -- in each moment, in each decision, in every new encounter.
Some Suggestions For Volunteers:
Many organizations are open to volunteers -- at any time of the year. Here are two national groups that provide links to volunteer opportunities in your local area:
Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., a business psychologist and psychotherapist, is Director of the Center for Progressive Development, in Washington, D.C. You may contact him at dlabier@CenterProgressive.org.
Follow Douglas LaBier on Twitter: www.twitter.com/douglaslabier