We have all had that phase in our childhood while studying about the socio-economic imbalances and problems of the world, or while preparing those presentations for school about the environment and impact of modernization on the environment, when we wanted to become an activist or involve ourselves in community services.
We all dreamed of making the world a better place for us and for the generations to come, through our services to the communities we live in and hence have an impact on society, on our country, and the world.
Some of us forgot all about that dream as we grew up, and some of us were lucky enough to live that dream.
Some of us take it up as a part-time or weekend activity and some of us have made that a mission of our life.
The best way to find oneself is to lose oneself in the service of others, said Mahatma Gandhi.
We do a lot of things in our life to fulfill our own needs and desires.
A lot of times, it comes at the cost of pushing away another person from the line or grabbing something from someone else’s hands. In this world of harsh competition and survival of the fittest, it requires people of a different pedigree to do things for others.
To serve others with the only motive of making their lives better is not everyone’s cup of tea. It requires a lot of courage and motivation to spend one’s time and energy in service to other people and service to the community.
Service to the community is something that all major religions of the world talk about. Being of help and service to neighbors and those in need is considered a responsibility of a spiritually awakened person.
That is why we have a lot of community services carried out by places of religious worship.
Helping In The Community
Communities can be formed based on geography, based on interests, based on causes that someone is battling for, based on voluntary societies, etc.
Passion also brings people together forming a community. Great ideas also make great communities.
We have communities of expatriates, communities of vegans, communities of bloggers, communities of artists, communities of runners, communities of gamers, etc.
Today, these communities have their online presence, and once added into the community group online pages, it becomes like a forum to ask for help and to befriend people.
By sharing the information that they have, the community members help each other.
Since the community binds people through the cause they stand for, or the commonality that exists between them, it becomes easier to find help within the community.
It becomes easier for a vegan to find a restaurant serving vegan dishes through a vegan community.
By helping in the community, we make good use of our time and our knowledge.
Helping in the community is the biggest catalyst for change.
For example, by helping a community that takes care of the education of girls from poor backgrounds, we can be a catalyst for bringing about change in that girl’s life, thus helping the family and the society she lives in.
We often underestimate the value of our help. A little help is like a small lamp which can actually brighten the life of a person who lives in darkness.
Contributing To Community
The biggest contribution to the community and service to the community is done by people who spread love.
People respond to love.
A loving society is an antidote to all the problems that we face today.
There are so many opportunities for contributing to the community today.
It includes, but is not limited to, working with people with a disability or mental health issues, children and young people, families, out-of-home care, health system, social housing, running a team of volunteers to help, etc.
In serving the community there exists a wide area for working with endless possibilities.
In order to be successful in contributing to the community, clarity in what we are trying to do for the community is very important.
A clear cut plan that can be communicated well to the stakeholders is necessary for successful community service.
Our worlds expand and we are able to set new goals for ourselves through contributing to the community.
Empathy, kindness, understanding, and resilience along with good communication skills are necessary for a person trying to be of service to the community.
The person is also required to know the importance of self-care. If we are not okay, then we cannot give our best to anyone else or the community.
Contribute To Society
There are many ways to contribute to society.
By living a life of simplicity and avoiding over-consumption of the resources available for all of us, by reducing our carbon footprint, we contribute to a cleaner society.
By obeying the rules of the land and respecting everyone’s space, we contribute to a peaceful society.
By contributing monetarily to causes that we believe in, we help create a balance in society.
By spending some time to think, plan, and work for others in our society, we impact society on multiple levels.
Firstly, we impact those who benefit from our work, and secondly, we impact society by becoming a better version of ourselves.
People who have attained name, fame, and stardom for themselves have always turned to philanthropic activities for peace of mind and happiness.
They have learned that there is no better way to use their money and stardom than to use it for making a difference in someone else’s life.
Like Emma Watson working towards the empowerment of young women as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, she is contributing to society in order to see a change in which she believes.
Using the voice of influencers and achievers in different fields, is the new formula for getting attention and encouraging more people to be associated with certain causes and encouraging them to contribute to society.
Giving Back To Communities
We have all been parts of different communities throughout our life. It has influenced us in many ways and we have benefited from the efforts of the community members.
Now, it is time for us to get involved in giving back to communities. It is like paying it forward. We benefit from someone’s work and someone else benefits from ours.
While working in communities, we work with vulnerable people. They could be from broken families or going through a tough time in their life.
So it requires one to be a strong person to support them. The aim here is to help them reach their goals so they can carry on without us.
There is no better joy than to see someone whom we were helping, become independent, and move on in life.
Giving back to communities can be a challenging task. There are lots of things to learn.
It involves making connections and knowing how to navigate. It can get tiresome and tedious.
Hence it takes a person with dedication and purpose to get on this path of serving the community.
Despite being a path of commitment, the rewards of this path are wonderful.
Rewards in terms of connections with people, being a part of their real stories, and touching their lives.
Ideas For Community Service
What inspires people to take up community services vary vastly.
Some of them are exposed from a very young age to the disparities in society and decide to work towards bridging that gap.
The real-life stories of people from different walks of life, inspire some others.
Some people decide to stand up for themselves and their communities because no one else is doing it and hence they enter the field of community services.
There are many ideas for community services as there are many issues in the world today. We have to select the one that we feel the most connected to. The one that keeps us awake at night and helps us get up in the morning and start working on it.
Community service is about being genuinely interested in someone else’s life and development without the motive of selling them something or asking them to part with something.
That is an actual commitment to social service. And that is the idea of community service.
Ideas for community service are born from having one-one conversations, listening to stories of people in a community, and then devising a plan that helps in solving their issues and helping them lead a better life.
That is like custom making development plans for the community.
Creating a park, building outdoor recreational areas, outdoor gyms for senior citizens and people with disabilities, etc., are ideas for community service if encouraging outdoor activities and improving the fitness level of the people in the community is our motive.
There are government agencies that help communities doing work specific to certain areas. Their help can be sought.
These agencies can help us get organized, strategically plan the entire program, find funding, communicate ideas, and also provide technical assistance.
It is also a good idea to declare a ‘Day Of Service’ for schools, offices, etc.
It helps people to look beyond themselves and recognize the needs of others.
Service to the community helps and brings about change in other people’s lives for the better.
It is enhancing the quality of life for people in their community.
What greater gift to give to others than to make them happy in worthwhile ways they can enjoy and appreciate.
The ideas for community service have to enable people to experience liberation and empowerment.
Contributors: Kazim Abasali & Deepa K.