Student Life

The Meaning Behind Community Service

Alison Graham

December 03, 2012

The Meaning Behind Community Service
Community service offers so many wonderful life experiences and lessons, not to mention, will look great on your college applications.
I have always wanted to have my own talk show, so I'm just going to pretend that I have one right now. Hello faithful audience and at-home viewers! Welcome to The Alison Show! Today we are going to be discussing a serious topic, one that will give you great life experiences, impressive things to put on your college application, wonderful essay topics, and great life experiences! It is... drum roll please...Community Service! To start off, I confess that the single greatest thing I have ever done in high school was become involved in service.
At my high school, we are required to complete a certain number of service hours each year, but once I got involved my freshman year, I couldn't stop. This year I have come to realize that, in the oh-so-wise words of Ke$ha, community service is my drug.
On one service trip in particular, I traveled to the scary concrete jungle that is downtown Indianapolis in the 100 degree summer heat to distribute cold water and food to the homeless. I admit there were a few awkward encounters, a few rude people, and I was absolutely petrified. Offering someone water that wasn't homeless was my main fear. In hindsight, what could a water bottle really insinuate?
I came across two men waiting for the bus, and I asked them if they wanted some water bottles or perhaps a granola bar. They graciously accepted and kept repeating how blessed they were. They called my friends and I "beautiful people," and struck up a conversation with us. One man told us he had attended Purdue University, which was such an eye-opening revelation. I had always thought homeless people were in their situation because they had not gone to college and were essentially dead beats, but I was so wrong. This service experience really altered my life. Just a small conversation gave me more respect for those living on the streets, and I have been friendly and warm to the majority of homeless people I encounter. Community service offers so wonderful great life experiences, not to mention, looks great on college and scholarship applications. Showing involvement in community service will make you seem well-rounded and, more importantly, make you well-rounded. Service experiences are some of the easiest essay topics to write about and are fun and worthwhile.
Here are some super awesome ideas for volunteering that came right off the top of my very head (which houses a very large brain, just in case you were wondering):
1. Volunteer at an animal shelter
2. Lead a toy drive, food drive, etc. at your school
3. Work at a food pantry
4. Volunteer at a hospital to read to kids or visit with patients who have not had any visitors
5. Visit a nursing home and hang with the elderly
6. Visit these sites for more ideas! DoSomething and VolunteerMatch. Thanks for watching The Alison Show and I hope to see you all next time! Audience claps wildly as Alison shakes hands, dances, kisses babies and throws free money into the air. What meaningful community service experiences have you had?

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