This I Believe

Sarah - Norfolk, Virginia
Entered on April 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Give a Little

The most complicated thing in this world today is that people are selfish with only one agenda in mind. Some wonder why Americans are pegged as rude and inconsiderate, but the truth is that most people would turn their heads at the opportunity to help a stranger. This is why I believe that each person should perform at least 36 hours of community service every year. If everyone were to give 36 hours each year, just imagine the good that would come of it.

In the Theta Phi chapter of Delta Zeta Sorority, we are required to do 12 hours of community service each semester. If you do not complete them, you are charged $25 which is sent to one of our national philanthropic organizations. It baffles me that people would rather stroke a check than give up 2 hours of their Saturday to help their neighbor. I understand that people work and have busy schedules, but I do too. I have a part time job, I am a full time student, and I am in a VP position in the sorority but I still manage to do at least double the hours required each semester.

One time, I went to the Botanical Gardens where I sat at a desk all day. All I did was hand out blank “Hello My Name Is” stickers to the visitors and I remember thinking “Why am I needed? It’s early, I’m tired, and they can grab a dang sticker for themselves!” But then I turned towards the gift shop and near the door was a woman standing with her head in her hands. I shortly realized that she was crying into the phone. I heard her say things like “The vendor for section 3-A hasn’t shown up yet, the kids are running crazy because the child care woman is NOT doing her job, and the only person I can rely on is the sorority girl handing out stickers!”

I understand that she was frustrated but I couldn’t help be upset at the title that I was given because the “sorority girl handing out stickers” was not exactly what I wanted to be known as on my free Saturday. But it dawned on me that the title wasn’t that bad. I could be the best thing that has happened to this woman all day and instead of being upset about it I was grateful that I was there to help.

Every time I volunteer I feel a greater sense of accomplishment than completing a homework assignment or a task at work. Giving to others lets me stay focused and realize that everyone needs a little assistance every now and then. Almost every time that I have volunteered, three hours is the maximum amount of time that I am needed for. If each person were to give 36 hours back to the community each year, it would only be three hours a month and think of the benefits that each person would experience. We could encourage the homeless to get jobs and get on their feet, help the elderly stay safe in their own homes by fixing broken stairs or railings, and we could help ourselves see that giving back to others is the true key to happiness.