Community service always meant work for me
Mandatory hours of community service as a kid. Chapter requirements in my fraternity. Church outings that everybody just went to.
I didn't hate it.....but didn't enjoy it
More often than not, my volunteering had been selfish. For extra credit, to fulfill requirements, to pad my resume, to grow my network.
I never thought much of community service
It was just something I did because I thought it'd help me. And that's why I stopped. After I no longer had a reason.
"How do we know we're making a difference in the world?"
My girlfriend asked me one day....
Truthfully....I didn't think I was.
The company I worked at moves around money & helps nobody. I didn't have enough money to do much donating.
Why was it important to make a difference in the world?
I could make a living. I had a good life. Yet her question bothered me.
I didn't want to just be another pawn.
A bystander in my own movie. Known for nothing. Making no impact.
Everyone had their "thing" to make an impact
Some friends made apps that helped people worldwide. Others told jokes that put smiles on people's faces. But what about me?
I had no special talents. No way to make an impact
A few months later, my church went to feed the homeless
I was in charge of scooping the mashed potatoes
I remember a man, gentle brown eyes.
Soft, sad face, and short beard. When I put the mashed potatoes on his plate, I asked him if he was okay.
"Been a rough year."
He smiled a bit. "Thanks for asking mate." And then quietly walked away.
I spoke to him again after my shift ended.
I quickly realized how hard it was for him to find food and make money. How hard his life was. How hard life conspired against him.
I realized that community service makes a difference
A real one. One that can change people's lives.
I now volunteer every week.
Because it gives me purpose. Because I know I'm helping people. Because the words: "Thank you" make life worth it.
So I know I'm making a difference.