Making a Difference through Service
Entitlement in children is something that we hear quite a bit about these days. One of the ways we have decided to combat entitlement in our family is by serving. Usually when people hear the word “service” or “service project”, big elaborate events may come to mind. Or maybe the idea of making casseroles to pass out to neighbors is more of where your imagination takes you. Perhaps it is serving people in a far off land to provide something for them that you take for granted every day.
No matter how you think about service, it helps you look beyond yourself and realize just how great your life may actually be. We decided to include service more in our family, focusing on our the needs in our immediate community. That way over time, our kids would see the places we have served at. We also hoped this would give them a greater sense of belonging to a community, and a responsibility to make it a better place. By serving on a local level, we are encouraging our kids to always be looking for a need, and how to help fill that need.
The best and easiest way that we have found to find the needs right around us is by using the website JustServe.org. This website is a great place for people to request volunteers and for volunteers to easily find service opportunities.
How Does it Work?
It is an easy-to-use website to quickly find opportunities to serve. Simply type in your zip code and find the needs right in your community!
JustServe.org is a website where the volunteer needs of organizations may be posted and volunteers may search for places to serve in the community, providing opportunities to help those in need and enhance the quality of life in the community.
What Are the Benefits?
See the World in a Different Light
We may not solve world hunger immediately, but we’re convinced that by serving with each other in our local communities, we’re paving the way for much broader changes. Our individual efforts don’t need to be huge—a little bit of change here, a few hours there—but even small efforts quickly add up to make a real difference.
As we work side-by-side and learn from each other, mutual understanding increases, misconceptions can be corrected, and new friendships are built.
Quickly Choose Your Project
Another benefit is you can see the description of the project and contact information before you sign up. This has been a huge benefit to our young family. We want our kids to serve, but not every organization is open to such a young group. Our kids helped pick our last project and learned skills such as presenting the project to people in the community, talking to adults, etc. They also became aware of a need in the community. They were surprised to realize things they take for granted are not available to everyone.
At JustServe.org, you will find local projects like helping with an Eagle Scout Project or serving at your local Food Bank. You can also find projects like compiling Humanitarian packets for people overseas. The opportunities are endless and you don’t have to travel far. Maybe you want to serve but don’t have the time. There are projects where all they need are donated supplies. If you are on the other side and have time but no extra money, there are plenty of ways to donate your time, energy and skills.
Easily Serve Locally
Bonnie Oscarson has talked about the benefits of serving at a local level.
I … think that sometimes it’s easy to miss some of the greatest opportunities to serve others because we are distracted or because we are looking for ambitious ways to change the world and we don’t see that some of the most significant needs we can meet are within our own families, among our friends, … and in our communities. We are touched when we see the suffering and great needs of those halfway around the world, but we may fail to see there is a person who needs our friendship sitting right next to us in class.
Be a Benefit to Those Around You
By realizing the opportunities to serve are all around us, we are more apt to take advantage of those situations. Bonnie Oscarson said:
What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most? How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice? Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs.
Service is something that brings us together as a family and a community. It lifts your spirits and helps you feel needed. When I serve, I find that I come away from the experience feeling that I have been helped more than the person I just served.
How will you serve today?