Community Service Is Not Just For The Holiday Season

By Victoria Gill
Elm Staff Writer

The holiday season has flown by, and good tidings seem to have done so as well. The sense to do right by others surrounds Christmas and Thanksgiving. Stories like “A Christmas Carol” remind us to be kind to others, soup kitchens provide hot meals to strangers in the community, people run drives for dry goods and clothing donations, Toys for Tots bring toys to under privileged children—the news talks frequently about how people get into the spirit of the holiday through giving back.

However, after these times of warm-heartedness are over, citizens’ desire to do right by their community and fellow man seems to disappear just like the holiday break. Life speeds right back up again, leaving behind those who are invisible for the rest of the year. Why can’t we give back to the community year-round?

Most people can say that they’ve done some sort of service through their church or local Boys and Girls Clubs. But as we get older, we end up with less time to do service. If you’ve grown up making service a routine, you might have cultivated a larger interest in taking action by yourself or through your college community and clubs, but not everyone has that habit.

In college, many see service as a part of Greek Life. This group of students looks for their place in this small community through sororities and fraternities, and builds social connectedness with peers and activists as they direct their energy to a centered cause. The philanthropies that Greek Life involve themselves in expose students to diversity and multiculturalism, as well as help students heighten their communication skills and build trust with their community.

However, not everyone is involved in Greek Life, and besides that, we can always do more even outside our scheduled activities.

To do this, simple acts of kindness can be included into your routine. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but it is embedded into the instincts of humans to assist those in need. Something so simple as holding the door for a group of people, buying the coffee of the person standing behind you in line, or helping someone carry a heavy item can make more of a difference than you realize. Taking these small steps can psychologically condition yourself to do tasks that ask more out of you.

For myself, starting to help those around my community through donation-based soup kitchens—even donating your own service was accepted—and seeing my friends bag canned goods for those in the D.C. area forced me to drop my shyness and seriously engage in what I was doing for the community. While gaining confidence to interact with people I didn’t know, I met a variety of people, and learned about their passions and stories. Service allows us to connect through something pure and create positivity for everyone involved. By reaching out to those in need, you destroy the wall of assumptions and stereotypes that dehumanize the less fortunate. You can learn who these strangers really are.

While the New Year continues to spread optimism and enthusiasm, we can strive to be better versions of ourselves, while helping others in the process. Think in the days and weeks to come, as we start off 2018, about spreading that to people who may find those things scarce in their own lives. Everyone feels good from doing good.

 

Get Involved On Campus:

Best Buddies

Habitat for Humanity

Caring for Kids

Relay for Life

Animal Impact

Rotaract Club

Adventure Club

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