Ever since I can remember, serving the needs of others has been something that is of great importance in my life. I’m not sure why, but I have always had this huge sense of empathy for others. Even when I was young, I could always put myself in someone else’s situation and feel what they were feeling. I am very blessed to have this attribute because it gives me the opportunity to connect more with people, even if the things we deal with are not very similar. And I believe that because of my empathy for others, I will always feel called to do service for the less fortunate.
As I have stated in earlier blogs, Saint Xavier has eight core values that this school bases its mission upon. They are Respect, Excellence, Diversity, Compassion, Hospitality, Integrity, Learning for Life, and Service. Obviously you can more than likely guess which one is my favorite…..respect! Justtttt kidding, it’s service! All joking aside though, finding a school that placed service at the forefront of its values was something that meant a lot to me. And it is because of SXU and all the service for the less fortunate that I have done that I am who I am today.
Every year, Campus Ministry sponsors Spring Break Service Trips to various service sites around the US. When I heard about this opportunity, I immediately signed up. I had only done service on a smaller level, but going out of state and serving others really intrigued me. My first year, I was randomly assigned to volunteer at Glenmary Farm in Vanceburg, Kentucky. It was at this farm that I not only bonded with twenty other SXU students and faculty, but also started the process of loving and accepting myself. It was through working in a food pantry, spending time with the elderly in a nursing home, and being away from all the craziness of everyday life that I began to reflect upon who I was. I’vealways struggled with perfection; wanting the perfect life, grades, and body. But Glenmary Farm showed me that I have so much to be thankful for, and if my life isn’t perfect, oh well! Life isn’t about getting everything you want, but accepting and loving what you have.
My sophomore year, I went on yet another trip to Jerusalem Farm in Kansas City, Missouri. The group of SXU students and staff we went with was smaller, but the experience was just as rewarding. We worked on a wheelchair ramp for a man named Leotis, learned more about and advocated for composting, did lots of physical labor, and cooked/ate lots of delicious vegan and vegetarian meals. Just as I learned a valuable lesson at Glenmary, I did so as well at Jerusalem. Even though I’ve attended Catholic schooling my whole life, I’ve never really believed in any higher power…until this trip. I gained a sense of spirituality and created a sense of who I believe that God is. It doesn’t matter if what I believe follows a certain religion, or if it’s what society says I should think…it’s about you and what you need in your life.
Even if you don’t want to attend a week long service trip, there are tons of other ways to serve others. You can donate old shoes in the Share Your Soles containers here, join the service club, or talk with Campus Ministry about their weekly service opportunities. I promise you, if you’re looking to do something outside of your comfort zone, immersing yourself in service is the way to go. Plus, it shows you just how truly beautiful humanity and life really are.
Peace and Love,
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” –MLK.