Monday Chat-Up: Community Service

Graphics by Tord Elfwendahl 4 Rotary Charity

Happy New Year Again my beautiful people! How are we doing? Trust we enjoyed our special edition holiday? Yes o, any holiday that lead one into a new year, not just a new week or month is a special edition holiday in my dictionary *smiles*...

Many of us partied until we got tired am quite sure ... Christmas and New year holidays are special period when so many special thing happen in our lives... So many weddings, anniversary celebration, love rekindlement, family bonding etc..

Today is the first Monday Chat Up for the year, and am excited to blog about Community Service. I am quite sure some will be wondering, why am starting a year with it bearing in mind that I am indirectly talking about giving back in a beginning of the year... Relax my people, just chill up a bit but bear in mind that one of the secrets to blessings lies in giving back.

            Lets begin by understanding what Community Service is all about before looking how one can get involve in any little way. 

Community Service can be seen as a voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area or environment.

According to , "Community Service can be performed by someone or a group of people for the benefit of the public or its institutions." 

Community Service is important for many reasons but I quite understand its not something Nigerians are so into. 

Taking part and volunteering teaches compassion and understanding. One of my favorite things about community service is that there are opportunities and choices right in your very neighborhood and one can volunteer for something you really believe and have an interest in, and can volunteer as much or as little as you'd like or have time for.

When I was very much younger I volunteered for churches and charities nearby my home.

At first I thought it was a punishment as my late father is in the habit of sending me to work in such places as volunteer during school holidays. Later, as I got to know why my parents sent me to such places, I learned to enjoy and relish my time there. 

All my volunteer experience as a young girl was a very rewarding experience and I got to do many things I wouldn't have had an opportunity to do otherwise.

In Nigeria, community service was not common during my days in high schools as it is of present and It hurts me, when sometimes I would see young kids who have been sent on community service by their schools do it in such a half baked manner just because the school made it a compulsory task for them to engage in community service. 

These kids sometimes just sit around waiting for their time to pass and rather than enjoying the experiences that the service had to offer. 

While, my heart gladdens each time I see students like them as well, even after they had completed their hours for school, they had enjoyed their experience and want to do more for the charities.

Come to think of it, not only is community service fun and rewarding, it also looks great on a resume or college application of any individual. Sometimes community service is even required for high school graduation especially for those of us who travels abroad for our university degree. 

Last year when I supervised the Community Service of some young people from Loyola Jesuit College and Holy Child College at the first hospice in Nigeria, (Hearts of Gold Children's Hospice, I educated them severally on embarking on a self-decided community service project and making a difference apart from the ones the schools made a compulsory task.
 At the end of their over one month service, I asked if they thought requiring students at secondary schools to complete 60 hours of community service each term was a good idea. 

To my surprise, majority of them agreed but don't think that is too much as long as they are given enough time to complete it, in addition to picking from a variety of locations for the service.

It appeared I focused on the young people right? Yes, am passionate about helping young people make informed decision.. However, this is not to say that this write up is not for everyone. We adults need to live by example by engaging in community service during our free period. 
I agree most of us are busy bugs but if we read further , we can find out how to give back in our own little way and any little time we carve out be it even weekends or via virtual methods. 

What you can do in your community?

Be a role model

Being a role model doesn't necessarily mean you need to be a celebrity, president, an entertainer. Being a role model can mean that you make informed decisions about your lifestyles, (career, personal etc) and share your knowledge base with others to enable them learn from such experiences.

If you choose a career part in life, explain the reason for your decision to others because it may help them to make their own informed decisions that are best for them. If you choose to go into entrepreneurship quite different from what you studied in school encourage people around you who are on the verge of indecisive decision . Either way, sharing information and supporting people you care about and even people you don't know while you set a good example make you a role model.

Be a mentor for younger People

A lot of young children do not have good role models or people to whom they can look for advice and help with decision making. You can become a mentor for young people. Relationships similar to those formed through the mentoring platforms both informal and formal have improved the personal achievement of many young people. 

As a mentor, you will be able to share your experiences and knowledge to increase the well-being of young people within your community. You can mentor these people through virtual meetings that can take place via skype calls, BBM group chats etc if making a face level time is difficult for you

Organize community health, entrepreneurship, civic engagement events

Health promotion events can be a great way to raise awareness and educate your peers about STDs and sexual health. Entrepreneurship and civic engagement events can also be a great way of inspiring young people as well as build their spirit of patriotism. 

Organized events with dancing, music, health information booths, and speakers can be fun and educational. You can find space at schools or community centers to hold your events—this way, people have easy access to the information and events available. 

Get involved in peer counseling

Do you spend your time with friends only to club and have fun all weekend round ? How about take more active role in the health of your community, you can join a peer counseling group or start one of your own bearing in mind that sex is on the increase among young people and as such having discussion on how to have safe sex can be interesting. 

Furthermore, you can start a peer mentoring by engaging with your peers on issues of good governance, reasons why they need to participate in the 2015 general election as well as how to engage our leaders in political offices on accountability of the public funds allocated for projects

Peer counseling is important to young people. It gives them the chance to discuss important issues with individuals who may share or relate to their experiences. Peer counseling is an excellent way to increase awareness and knowledge about STDs, HIV, Teen Pregnancy etc while supporting your community.

Start a newsletter

Newsletters are an excellent way to distribute information. Many young people are not comfortable talking about health or sexuality issues, but a newsletter can provide a way to give people information without the embarrassment of face-to-face discussion. A question-and-answer (Q&A) section of the paper could be dedicated to addressing the concerns of readers. Am sure many people will go into any newsletter part... Dont forget to write me when you start one...

Volunteer at a local charities, Nonprofits, Clinics, Churches, Mosque

Many towns and cities have charities, NGOS, Clinics, churches and Mosque that need someone to help out in one service area or the other.  You may be able to volunteer your time to help with administrative services, reception, education and counseling, or other activities in such places. Start from your church, clinics or mosque to find out what services you can render to them free of charge and you will be marveled at the list on how you can fit into the environment. To locate available charities and NGOs  in your area, you can search the Web and they will be glad you made a contact.
I feel it is good idea not just for the sake of a well-rounded individual but also because I feel that everyone should give back.

As I move through life I think I will always be involved in community service. Not just because I think it is important but because it is something I enjoy and look forward to. 

I love bringing joy and through community service I feel I can accomplish that alot. 

I hope that this long monday chat-up inspires you to go out in your community and make a difference to volunteer your time, even if your reward is only a piece of nicely written recommendation letter from where you rendered the service..*tongueout* * smile*.... Dont mind me, your reward is far more above that darlings because there is muh blessings in giving than in receiving...

Hang on with us and watch out for next week edition of monday-chatup but please endeavor to share this with your circle of friends and loved one to carry them along in the blessings....

Drop comments please, we love comments....

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