I believe in Community Service

Colby - Altoona, Iowa
Entered on September 18, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I Believe in Community Service

“Every day I remind myself that my inner and outer lives are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” – Renowned German scientist, Albert Einstein. Whether it’s mowing the lawn for my elderly neighbor, handing out candy in a parade, or just smiling at strangers I pass everyday, I believe that it is my responsibility to give back to others what I have received.

Recently, community service has become an important objective in my life. When I began my scholarship application process last year, I was prompted again and again with the same statement: “Please list all community activities in which you have participated and note any major accomplishments in each.” I realized that I had not contributed to the community in any shape or form for as long as I could remember, let alone achieved any major accomplishments.

I always heard about community service opportunities that I could have participated in through my church or through clubs at my school, but I never felt like doing them. Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, I often passed up the opportunity and thought to myself, “Maybe next time.” In my laziness and lack of caring, I missed many chances to help people, to better my community, to make a difference.

As I matured and learned more about life, I started to realize how selfish it was for me to take advantage of services provided to me by other members of the community without ever considering returning the favor. I was always satisfied with who I was; I always thought of myself as a pretty good person, but I started to understand that I can’t sit around doing nothing, helping no one, and feel content with my life.

I started getting more involved with my church and I signed up for a couple clubs at my school. But community service isn’t just about handing out Christmas toys to less fortunate children or participating in a few organized events to collect community service hours. Community service is a full-time commitment that I do even when no one is there to watch or tell me “good job.” When I walk through a door, I try to make sure to hold it open for anyone walking behind me; when I walk by strangers, I try to give warm smiles; when I walk by someone throwing an empty wrapper or bottle on the ground, I try to pick it up and throw it away.

I believe in community service. When I grow old, I want to be able to say that I helped many people. I want to say that I “exerted myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received.” I’ve taken enough services from the community for granted; now its time for me to stand up, get my hands dirty, give up a couple hours of my busy life, and help the people who helped me.