reates some powerful energy! It’s always a unifying experience to talk about why we’re doing what we’re doing – who we’re helping, why it’s important, what the benefits to others will be, etc. Once that vision and purpose are clear, everyone is eager to start. And it’s that same vision that provides the strength to finish. And what a powerful blueprint for our own journeys!
Awareness. Engaging in community service can enhance our awareness of others’ needs. At the food bank, we can talk openly about what it must be like to go hungry, and lack basic necessities. Participating in service also provides awareness of the generosity of others. The crates and crates of food and other supplies were all donated by people who wanted to share, to make a difference. Raising awareness of the needs around us and the resources that might be available is a powerful benefit.
“Work” can be fun and fulfilling. For many teens (OK, for a lot of adults too) the term “work” has some negative connotations. Community service opportunities can provide immediate evidence that work can be fun and fulfilling. Even if it’s really difficult work (like when we rebuilt a section of the hiking/mt biking trails), we can make it fun. And much of that fun comes in the form of point #4: building relationships.
Builds relationships and healthy connection. I learned a simple strategy for building team unity from a successful businessman. He said, “as a group, make opportunities to eat together, play together, and work together. You’ll be surprised at how close you become.” I’ve found that to be true. I’ve also found that one of the keys here is to lead by example. One of the reasons community service has been such a good experience at Kaizen is that we ALL participate. When the administrative, clinical, academic, and/or residential leadership rolls up their sleeves and leads the way, our students are eager to work along side us. When the job is done, we not only complet