Community

Personally, I feel the world is a 'what you make it place' with wonderful places and with  people.  As inhabitants of this world we should make efforts to create a better environment for everyone to live in. Whether this means equality, making sure people have access to basic resources, or just plain being nice. 


Last year, through a school group (Alternative Spring Break) I did community service in Baltimore, Maryland.  The overall trip was fantastic.  We helped out at soup kitchens, food pantries, daycare programs, transitional housing, and after school programs.  While there we learned about how all their programs work.  Catholic Charities of Baltimore, the program we went through, has a great transitional program for families in need helping these families get back on their feet.  Just doing the service becomes really rewarding, but in addition it is a really educational experience.  Not educational as in we had to read some books while we were there.  You're exposed to programs for families in need, how cities handle these high poverty rates, you meet incredible individuals who devote a large amount of their time to people in need, and you hear incredible stories.

One of my favorite stories was one I heard at a soup kitchen in Downtown Baltimore.  We were working at a soup kitchen that served almost 500 people in a two hour time span.  The workers and kitchen had this down to a science. Of course they needed this science considering the amount of people they were serving.  The soup kitchen was housed by a larger facility that also housed an employment center and transitional center for men. 

After we served everyone else we then ate our lunches and ate with the usual workers.  One man in particular sat down with me and my boyfriend at the time and was telling us about himself.  He told us a story about a theater project he was involved that did plays encouraging young adults to avoid violence and gangs.   The project was started by a man who when he was young was involved in gangs and violence and because of him his younger brother got involved which led him down a bad path.  Afterwards, he started this project so he would no longer have to see young inner city young adults go down the same path. 

I found the story amazing how a person could start such a project.  They're not just people.  They all have stories.  This is one of the reasons I love doing community service.

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