The Jaguars' Spot, Nov. 7
November 07, 2013This past weekend I went to go see a friend perform in a production at his school. They were putting on Avenue Q and he was the lead character, Princeton. While the show made me laugh and I've been walking around with the
songs stuck in my head, The Money Song distinctly stood out to me.
The song starts off with a character begging for money and pleading for some change saying, "help the homeless" and when Princeton gives him some change he has a sudden realization that helping others makes you feel good.
The whole philanthropic idea is not new, but many high school students don't abide to it. Sure, there are a few who log in hours but their main motive is to walk with a CSF and NHS cord during graduation. This mindset of doing service
for recognition ultimately excludes the real reason behind volunteer work and charity.
Because our high school doesn't actively advocate or require a set amount of s er vice hours for graduation, many students are reluctant to serve if they aren't receiving anything in return. But this is a problem I've seen in other places as well. The girls in my old girl scout troop would do things just for the badges.
Friends at church would help out just for free food, random people would ask me to log in hours for them saying they tutored me.
If this is what volunteer service has become, these people will soon be claiming they should get paid!
Service above self is a big moral of mine. I mark up my CSF and NHS service logs the day I need to turn them and write down maybe 5 percent of the work I did that semester because that's all I can remember. I don't like logging in every
second I volunteer because that time spent is not a burden to me but rather a reward. Personally, I don't do service to benefit myself because service is meant for others. You are literally serving them and there really is no better feeling in the world.
My favorite volunteer story has to be of when I did an early morning clean up for Bike MS and they had left over burritos and fruit from the event. Instead of tossing them (there was about 100 burritos in the tray) I asked if I could take them to downtown and feed the homeless. I don't know why I thought of that, but I somehow knew that there was a reason I was assigned to clean up the food area and found that tray of burritos. The lady in charge told me yes and before I knew it my mom and I were driving to San Diego.
We circled the entire downtown area and I can vividly remember a lady sitting outside a liquor store, crying when I gave her a plate, an elderly man with arthritis smiling and his eyes lighting up as he took the food back to his makeshift home, another man asking if we could give him a second plate for his friend and pointing to where he was sleeping. We still had so many burritos left over that we went to a strawberry field and gave them to the workers cutting fruit.
My mom and I must have fed 60 people that day and the best part of it all was they had no idea who we were. To them, we were an anonymous guardian that helped them survive another day. The sincerity of their thank yous showed us that they felt love in their hearts again — and who knows how long it had been since they last felt it. That's true service beyond oneself. You don't need to sign a paper or tell them your name hoping they'll remember you; all you need to do to make a true impact with service is remember the feeling you get from caring for them.
Whether you drop a dime in their hat, leave some groceries for the family with a sign off the freeway, or even wash dishes at a soup kitchen you'll know you've done a good deed because you've anonymously showed compassion and love to others.
So Jags, want to send some love for the season? FFA will be collecting canned food now until the end of the month. Drop off one or more cans, not to put it down on a log but to know that someone, somewhere will be able to have some form of thanksgiving dinner because you brought in a can; and knowing that should make you feel even better about yourself.