Friday, June 17, 2011

Top five reasons community service exposure is good for students

There have been many questions about the need for community service exposure of students. Can you even imagine the world without community service? It means a society where people don’t know what charity and usefulness are. More than just a prerequisite for graduation, it actually addresses problems in the community commonly missed by the government or the non government organizations.

All smiles. The recipients of our college's annual community service weekend.
Good Shepherd's Fold Academy and Orphanage, Buenavista, Guimaras.  
Other than fulfilling your subject’s requirements, experiencing community outreach programs help push communities for the better. With my experience as a student-volunteer in my university for four years and as an active support faculty for the National Service Training Program of the college, I will be enumerating the top five reasons it is good for students.

1. Assist and make a difference to someone’s life
With many students who prefer to get jobs and earn, there are young minds that think of benefitting society than just themselves. A simple act of helping to take care of the elderly and the handicapped might not be pocket-friendly, but can create changes that will make someone believe he/she is useful. They might not be earning something monetary, yet the experience of changing people’s lives is infinitely more than what any amount can afford.

2. Gaining confidence

Having the chance to be with different kinds of people can make one gain confidence. In the community, a student-volunteer will have the chance to experience things first hand. They may even be given responsibilities to design or implement changes. As they needed to go on some processes with this, meeting people of diverse personalities will help them gain confidence. Believe me, it is more than just how much you earn that will boost your self-image. In most cases, having the feeling of being able to help someone is in itself gratifying.

3. Improve one’s self

Going out of your way and reaching out to help someone who is a total stranger at first will make you feel good about yourself. As time goes by, students will eventually develop a sense of concern and empathy for people. With such, they will continue to live by the values they acquired and most likely be socially involved. Someone who has an in-depth understanding of people will be flexible enough to adjust, and will never have difficulty dealing with new faces. With their understanding of the realities of life, they won’t be hard enough on themselves, and will even be more appreciative of their blessings. They are bound to enjoy the many different experiences life has to offer.

4. Open new perspectives
 Nothing beats lessons from experiences. As students are exposed early on to the social forces that define their society, they will acquire awareness and even devise ideas to make life better. When people are used to living with all the conveniences, they lose interest and concern for society and become greedy. They may even look down to people who are already suffering enough. Giving them the chance to know or even feel the experiences of the less fortunate will open their minds on the possibilities of having to be understanding and non judgmental.

5. Foster long term changes
 With their understanding of the world, and the experiences and actions they did to change it, students exposed to community service are likely to foster long term changes. Other than the fact that they influenced the lives and beliefs of the locals, their acquired social concern and sensitivity will enable them to live by their values and pass them on to people they work with, or better yet, with their children. What else could be better with having children sensitive enough to answer the call for social actions?

I have learned so much from my community service years, and I am happy to have seen my students feel the same. The significance and value of committing one’s self to community service is beyond imagination. With students budding into individuals with concerns to the world they live in, we will find it easier to avoid, if not totally take away the problems that continue to exist. Exposing students to the glory of community service will benefit those who are in need. As they reach out, they will have conveyed to the community the message of unselfish love and knowledge that will foster developments. Social conscience leads to better life not just for the people we work for, but for ourselves at most.

Have you ever been onto community service? What have you learned so far?

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