What is Meaningful Service?

Service stands for many things. It is often used in the context of a paid service, but also in the context of community. The latter is what we will be bringing to the table in Williamson, West Virginia. Community service is defined as voluntary service, usually done for the good of a person, community, or state, but what factors differentiate community service from a job? What makes it meaningful? Any one person or group can do community service, but many people see it as a job they feel obligated to do. The biggest difference between service and meaningful service is that meaningful service is something you remember. It is something you are proud of, not only something society tells you needs to be done, but something that you genuinely think needs doing. It has a lasting impact, not only on the community that it is done in, but also on you, the person, or even the group that does it. Meaningful service should not only help the community become a better place, it should help every person involved develop skills, and become a more well rounded, experienced person. It is a very hard topic to define in a specific way. It is impossible to give it an exact definition. The definition varies from person to person, but the level of meaning varies from activity to activity. To emphasize the fact that there is no uniform definition, going to dictionary.com and searching meaningful service, returns no dictionary results, in fact it only returns web search results of other peoples opinions. Meaningful service is not something that society determines for others. There are no set rules, or standards, that a service has to meet to be given the title “meaningful”, it falls under the title self-determined.

As a group I think we all agree that what we are going to do this summer falls under the category of meaningful, if it did not we would not travel there to do it. By going into a community and helping to provide them with a source of sustainable and nutritional food, we are doing something that will last so much longer than just the 10 days that we stay there. On top of that we will know we helped change a whole community. Making it healthier, and more accessible to people of all ages. On top of that we gain experience, something that is invaluable. We have the opportunity to go to a place that is, in many ways, foreign to us. Different foods, jobs, lifestyle, and living conditions. It will allow us to experience something that will change the ways we see things. So, as I stated before, not only will we be making a lasting difference on the community that we are serving in, the community we are serving in will have a lasting, and meaningful, impact on us.

Written by Ethan Hodges

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