Community service is an elemental aspect in the societies today. Community services encompass voluntary actions and operations by people in all aspects. Community services are continual activities in the societies that many people attach great importance. In many organizations and institutions today, it is an added advantage for employees and job seekers to have been participants in community services. As such, they suggest the contribution of people to their societies. I undertook my volunteer work as a community service at the Food Share Company. While at the company, I engaged fully with the operations of the organizations in volunteer work. My obligation as a volunteer at FOOD Share was to assist the company to reach the thousands of hunger-stricken individuals in the Ventura County every month. Together with other volunteers, we committed ourselves to fight hunger in the county and ensure that the affected people in the county readily and easily accessed nutritious food. My volunteer work encompassed a wide range of volunteer opportunities at the company including food sorting, gleaning, reception and office and events of community fundraising. My shifts were six days in a week and that period I strived to manage my available time with the volunteer opportunities.
REFLECTION ON MY COMMUNITY SERVICE
While volunteering at FOOD Share Company, I realized that there are various ways through which community service is valuable to the communities. I think that the first way in which community service is valuable to the community is by volunteer work in companies that seek to help communities. My volunteer work at FOOD Share is an example of this way. People offer to work with organizations by engaging fully in the operations of the organizations and institutions to assist people in the societies and communities. The second way that community service can be valuable to the community is by enabling individuals become ambassadors of community service companies. For instance, one can speak on behalf of such a company at their affiliated organizations or companies. By doing so, they influence these organizations and companies to adopt measures to assist people in the communities. The third ways through which community service can be valuable to the community is by donations to the communities. People can offer donations of both perishable and non-perishable commodities to people in the communities. Additionally, one can donate money to community service companies like FOOD Share to promote their services to the communities. Lastly, I think that another way of making community service valuable to the community is by enabling community service awareness to the communities through inviting community service companies to meetings of social clubs or working organizations.
I think the value of community service can be counterproductive in various ways. Firstly, the value of community service can be counterproductive through misappropriation of funds intended for community assistance and development by corrupt leaders. Additionally, the availability can be counterproductive through community feuds, which hinder smooth operations of community service operations.
I think my community service experience challenged the way I think about social issues relevant to the community in different ways. My experience at FOOD Share enabled me to understand the needs of people in the societies. It also allowed me to acknowledge that people need the help of others to exist in life. Moreover, the experience enhanced my understanding of social interaction with people because I interacted with different people while working in the various volunteer opportunities at the company.
Serving my community has become part of my life in various ways. Firstly, I have become more interested in giving back to my community by assisting people in the possible ways I can. My community service at the FOOD Share Company has allowed me to understand the needs of people in my community, making it part of my life because I exist in the community as well. Serving my community has become part of my life because I can demonstrate my response to the needs of my community through my volunteer service. Lastly, serving the community has become part of my life because it has enabled me to appreciate my ability to impact changes as an active member of my community and my responsibility to do so.
I think community service makes a huge difference. It makes a difference to the community and the difference to volunteers or me in community service. In the communities, community services identify the needs of the community and responds to these needs through volunteer services. Community service enhances service orientation in the community through empowering people to give back to the communities by sharing their resources, labor, talents and knowledge. To the volunteers, community service enables them to understand value orientation by enabling them to reflect on the community needs and the nature and state of ethical behavior in relation to others. Additionally, it enhances their understanding of diversity in the community. That is, these community service providers easily reflect upon the diverse classes and cultures within the international, national and local community in order to preserve and appreciate that diversity.
Integration of my community service
Basing on my community service experience, I have an understanding of active citizenship, community engagement and social responsibility. From my understanding, the concept of active citizenship refers to the involvement of people in the affairs of public life. This involvement can take place at international, local or national level. At the local level, it refers to the citizens who become involved actively in their communities’ life by tackling problems and bringing out changes or resisting the unwanted changes. The active citizens are those who build understanding, knowledge and skills in order to make different informed decisions concerning their workplaces and communities with an aim to improve the quality of life. On the other hand, community engagement refers to incorporating of members of the community in problem-solving solutions to problems and issues affecting them. Additionally, it refers to involving members of the community in all activities including identifying issues and making relevant decisions on how to address the issues, and to share and to evaluate the decisions in the community. Lastly, social responsibility refers to an ethical framework that suggests that entities, be they individuals or organizations, have an obligation to work for the benefit of the entire society. Additionally, social responsibility that individuals have to perform to maintain a distinct balance between economy and ecosystems in the community.
During my service experience with the community while, at FOOD Share, I had two accounts where reciprocity and responsiveness surfaced. In the first account of reciprocity, I was working as a receptionist at the FOOD Share Company; I received a call from another organization that was willing to contribute to the FOOD Share Company. When the cheque for the contributions came, it was accompanied by a gift for me. This act shows the practice of exchanging items for mutual benefit. In another account where responsiveness surfaced, I was out on a fundraising event when an individual from the crowd shouted that the funds would only benefit the privileged in the community. I as responsive and acted quickly to the quality of the statement of that individual by responding aggressively but strategically to that statement. From these two experiences, I learnt that in communities and settings in the world today, people could exchange things for mutual benefit especially when privileges are proficient. Moreover, I learnt that people become responsive to occurrences in their life, most of which involve responding with emotions to the events.
My service experience has been more than a one-way relationship because on many occasions; I fully engaged with members of the community during my volunteer work. I offered help whenever I could especially while working as a receptionist and in turn; I discovered the individual community needs of the people. I was responsive to those I serviced in different ways. I was polite, affirmative, firm and aggressive. Those I serviced were responsive in different ways. Some of them were rude, polite and others skeptical. From my service, I understand reciprocity as a phenomenon of mutual exchange for mutual benefit.
The most relevant social issues facing the population I served are hunger and food insecurity. These issues are difficult to solve because they require sufficient resources including time, money, food itself, funds and aids among others, which might not be readily available. The community organization, FOOD Share deals with these issues in different ways. Firstly, the company uses volunteers to provide aids and assistance in the community. These volunteers are diversified across the community including church groups, retired individuals, adult service organizations and corporate groups to help the less fortunate and hunger-stricken individuals. Given what I have learnt and experienced, I would reach out to global organizations like the FAO to help in the service in my attempt to address the hunger issues in the community. I would also encourage the individuals in the communities to participate in trainings and conferences on promoting agriculture. Moreover, I would members of the community in open forums to listen to their views concerning how to address the issues to avoid a one-way relationship in the service.
Life experiences like community services usually transform who people are and who they become. I think my community service will influence my life in certain ways. Firstly, it will assist me to develop an interest in community issues. Moreover, the service will help me to interact easily with others in the social context. Moreover, the service will enhance my responsive abilities and situation management skills. This community service has contributed to my personal growth and development in variant ways. It has enabled me to understand that every community has its problems. Moreover, I have developed a clear understanding of community diversity. Lastly, from the service, I have learnt that each person is different and has different needs. I think my role as an active citizen in the society is acting as an ambassador for community service.