Why do I do service? I would love to say that I do it purely out of altruism, because I cannot justify seeing people in despair and pain. This is partially true, but if you spend hours every week serving, you know that there is more to this. Serving has become a way of life. It is not even something you choose to do, it is something I have grown to need. Every time I go to a service site, I realize I may not help anyone today, and that’s okay, because giving my time and aid helps me feel grounded to reality.
This school so often engulfs our lives, between the academic, social, and extracurricular life. Getting a B on a test seems like the end of the world. Now put that in context to going to the Social Services office and meeting a child that has been malnourished at only months old. Compare that to countless women who are being mentally, physically, and sexually abused in this same town. All of the sudden big deals become small matters.
Serving gives you a chance to change someone’s life, but it is guaranteed that someone will change yours.The countless stories I carry with me every day have shaped me into the person I have become.
I don’t serve for the hours or the boost to my resume; I serve because I would lose myself without these people that I meet every week.
When people ask about Bonner and I tell them we agree to 900 hours of service in 2 years, they are shocked. But if you really think about it, 900 hours is nothing. In two years there are 17,520 hours, divide 900 by that and you get about 5%. As Bonners we spend only 5% of our two years of college serving, which means we spend 95% of the two years just for us. We sleep, eat, do work, worry about work, make lists, talk to friends, cry, laugh, and so much more. In that 5% if we can change just one person’s life for the better than it’s worth it.
That’s why I do service, because it brings hope. It show’s me that sad stories have happy moments, that that truly caring about someone can change the course of their life. So many individuals have helped me and without them I wouldn’t be here, and I would not have the opportunity to devote time to others. It is this hope for myself and for others that inspires me to serve.
— Meredith Roberts, ’14, First-Year Bonner