Giving Back and Helping Others

Written by Alexander Thomas
Albert Dorman Honors College

Community service is a great way to give back to the community and help others. One great experience I had involving community service was when I went to Kentucky a few summers ago on a trip called Red Bird Mission. The mission site was located in Beverly, Kentucky. The mission had groups come down from different states and repair people’s houses. These homes are located in three of the top five poorest counties in the United States.

AThomas Service1While down there, I was part of a group that was assigned to repair a roof. At first, it just seemed like another trip where we would complete the task we were given and then that would be the end of it. But the trip was nothing like what I expected. I thought the whole ride down that the trip would benefit the homeowners and not really benefit me, but I was wrong. The trip taught me a lot about who I am and what’s important in life.

The trip taught me not only how to repair a roof but also what really matters in life. One important lesson I learned is not everything is about me. That phrase had an important meaning during my trip and my life after the trip. I learned to be selfless and realized that what was important was the fact that we were making a positive impact on someone’s life. We were helping a family have one less thing to worry about and another reason to be happy and thankful.

AThomas Service2Once we were finished repairing the roof, instead of saying our goodbyes to the homeowners, we asked them what else we could do for them.  It was a simple request but to the homeowners it meant a lot. They were grateful for our willingness to improve the quality of their life. I still remember their facial expressions like it was yesterday. They had the biggest smiles on their faces when they heard our request. Their expressions were what made the trip worthwhile. It’s when everyone in the group realized that community service isn’t about making our image better or making ourselves feel better about ourselves, it’s about doing the right thing and improving someone’s life. When you worry about other people besides yourself, you’re often happier and appreciate things more.