Community Service Defined
While brainstorming this blog post, I decided to take a researched based approach and look at what defines community service. I found a much more palatable definition than what Wikipedia had to offer on PrepScholar (2018). This definition states:
“Community service is work done by a person or group of people that benefits others. It is often done near the area where you live, so your own community reaps the benefits of your work.
Community service can help any group of people in need: children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, English language learners, and more. It can also help animals, such as those at a shelter, and it can be used to improve places, such as a local park, historic building, or scenic area as well. Community service is often organized through a local group, such as a place of worship, school, or non-profit organization. You can also start your own community service projects.”
Benefits of Giving
So why would we, as advisors and coaches, wish to consider service involvement in the community?
Regardless of your definition, it is clear that community service is for the benefit of others. Florida State University values diversity, equity, understanding, compassion and belonging. On a grand scale, whether you follow the ideology of the great French enlightenment philosopher Voltaire or from Stan Lee’s script work of Spiderman, it was stated: “With great power comes great responsibility.” As representatives of one of the best universities in this nation, we have the responsibility to help others. FSU has taken great strides to advocate through their policies and bylaws the importance of service, and has even implemented it as a part of the Strategic Plan.
Additionally, people benefit on a personal level from participation in community service. According to Forbes Magazine (2015), volunteering helps people develop new skills, build experience, and increase as sense of love through the giving of love.
According to Mayo Clinic (2017), volunteering builds relationships, skills, confidence, self-accomplishment, compassion, and understanding; all while it thwarts depression, loneliness, lack of value/worth, and lack of compassion for other human beings.
It just feels GOOD to volunteer!
Get Involved and Share Opportunities with Students
We set examples for our students. If we know all of the positives of volunteering…. then why not volunteer, and suggest service opportunities to our students as well?!
So…where can you volunteer? How can you get started? There are MANY ways to get involved starting right here on campus. You can begin with professional development such as the certificates offered : Diversity & Inclusion Certificate Series , Global Partners Certificate , or Student Coaching Skills Certificate, all of which include courses and/or workshops that have a focus on serving and assisting others. In addition, there are various programs/organizations within the University such as The Center for Leadership and Social Change and many student run organizations that need advisors/coaches as RSO advisors. Want me to be more specific?: Dance Marathon, Clothes Closet, The Career Center, Food Pantry, mentoring within your own major area, LGBTQ Events, cultural events, etc. JUST REACH OUT. Find an area that speaks to your soul and then simply offer your service.
About the Writer: Catherine M. Harris, Ms.Ed.S / MSW, FSU College Life Coach
Myers Briggs ENFP and Warrior –
Coach Cat’s theory of life is to dance in the storm, even if you created it. Stand beside those who cannot stand, speak for those without a voice. Walk the path or even crawl next to those who cannot walk. Fight for those who lost all hope and will, so they can fight once again too. Be the light within the darkness, even if it is you who has trouble seeing.
Horoszowski, M. (2015, Mar). 5 surprising benefits of volunteering. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2015/03/19/5-surprising-benefits-of-volunteering/#14daca2d127b
Sarikas, C. (2018, July). SAT/ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips: Definition: What is community service?. PrepScholar. Retrieved from https://blog.prepscholar.com/what-is- community-service
(2017, May). Speaking of Health: Helping people, changing lives: The 6 health benefits of volunteering. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/helping-people-changing-lives-the-6-health-benefits-of-volunteering