Anyone who has ever engaged in any form of volunteer or social service with a non profit organization or an NGO would know the vast amount of satisfaction charitable or philanthropic work can bring. The beauty of volunteering to bring about some change in the societies we live in is inherent in the understanding that change is after all in our hands. Be it in the social or personal arena, the power to effect change in our lives as well as others’ lives lies with the individual self. Social Service is an extension of this concept. When we speak of social service, our minds instantly go on the lines of working at an orphanage or organizing a petition to save the environment or something similar. This is social service to the regular citizen who doesn’t have the bent of mind to invest all his time in this work and become a full time social service volunteer, but at the same time is willing to find time to give back to the community. This lies at the heart of social service. The intent and the act of finding time for something that is purely for the benefit of someone else is different experience for everyone and has the ability to transform lives. Here are 5 ways in which Social Service can change your life:
Insights about the World
Social Service has the capacity to give you a better understanding of the world around you. This can be simple knowledge of the state of affairs in your society or neighborhood, to the bigger picture about the issues that concern the entire globe too. Volunteering and charitable work can broaden your knowledge base without you even being consciously aware of this change happening. Your understanding of the world is directly influenced by your experiences and volunteer work can teach you a lot. From learning sign language and teaching the physically challenged to perhaps being part of a tree plantation drive in your locality or just going around collecting old clothes for the poor can make you learn people skills and also enhance your personality as someone who can and wants to relate to the outside world in a positive way.
Insights about the Self
The relationship between social work and the self is ever evolving. What might begin as a mere want to engage in something just because everyone else is can soon transform into something more meaningful. The kind of person you are, your self, influences the kind of work social work you engage in and in what capacity, and at the same time, your work over time can influence the kind of person you will become. Getting involved with the community can give you important insights about yourself. It’s all a challenge of the unknown. When you sign up for some project, you open yourself to unknown experiences and people, thereby creating an entirely new fold of self discovery and improvement. The good thing about social work is that it never goes waste. Your work counts for something, no matter how small it might be and the capacity to bring about change. If you do decide to take up philanthropy seriously in the future, do remember that understanding yourself and what you want to change, and firmly believing in a vision is perhaps the first and most important step in getting to know your community better.
Giving Back to the Community
The essential idea behind social service is giving back to the community you live with. Now the question might arise as to why giving back to the community holds importance in today’s world. The answer is rather simple too. For those who are genuinely committed to working for the society know that while they might be living a comfortable life, others aren’t as fortunate. It’s about trying to make a difference to the people you share an identity with. At another level, when social work takes the form of environmental activism, it’s the bigger picture that matters. Isn’t observing the Earth Hour a form of community service at the global level? Different people have different perspectives on how one can give back to the community, but what needs to be understood is that at the heart of social work is a feeling of being part of something and doing it because you believe that the connections you make in that community matter.
There are numerous examples of people who have undergone lifestyle transitions after getting involved with a cause. And while these examples might seem too revolutionary and extreme for the average individual, they leave an important message behind. If one is fully committed to the work he does for the community, their work is capable of effecting a significant change in the way they think about the world around them and react to events that occur. This is because social service is extremely powerful and can influence your thought process in multiple ways, for better or worse. Learning the art of minimalism by volunteering at a school for the deaf and dumb, or starting your own NGO to promote cancer awareness, social work can transform you as a person. In nine out of ten cases, it does.
An Understanding of Relationships
Social Service also has another aspect to it, that of making one more cognizant of the nature of relationships that can exist in a society. It can the relationship between the donor and the NGO, a blind student and a teacher or a young child in Africa and a bunch of college students organizing a fund raising event for African children. The nature of each of these relationships is different, but for those involved, it is a deeper connection with the people and the cause at hand. This might not work out the same way for everyone too, one might not in fact understand the levels at which their relationship with the cause operates, but this deserves time as well. Even if one can appreciate the connections one makes in one single day with people they might never meet, all because they decided to involve themselves in a community service activity, the results and the satisfaction once the work is finished will be much more.