As can be found in all small towns across the United States, opportunity for community service is abundant in this area. All one needs to do is look around and they will easily find an opportunity to give something back to their local community.
For my community service project, I chose to spend time with an organization which benefits battered women. While I believe in and support a multitude of charitable organizations, this particular one is near and dear to my heart. Not only are we bombarded almost daily by the mainstream media with accounts of domestic violence, primarily against women, but the time I spent employed as a Correctional Officer gave me the chance to talk with many women who were incarcerated. The overwhelming majority of these women, upon hearing their stories, were at some point victims of this horrendous act of violence. Over the years their stories touched me deeply as I began to understand the patterns of abuse and learn of the increasingly violent acts levied against them.
My first act of service to the organization was to work with my husband and clean out our closets and cupboards. I then delivered the items to the local store affiliated with the organization which sells donated items to provide financial support to domestic violence victims. While there I asked about opportunities to assist in the store and was immediately welcomed. I quickly went to work and spent the next several hours helping in a number of ways. As we worked and talked, I found myself drawn to the people I was with and after a few hours, when I had to leave, asked if I could return.
I spent a few hours each weekend at the store, spending far more than the required time for this assignment. I was drawn to the people I worked with and fascinated with their stories. They all had different reasons for being there but ultimately had a commonality as having been domestic violence victims who had overcome and changed their lives, and those of their children, for the better.
I will likely continue to volunteer as time permits. Although familiar and somewhat knowledgeable with this horrible part of life, this experience allowed me to see the other side and get to know people who had taken a tragedy and turned it around to the positive. It left me even more grateful for the life. I have been blessed with and grateful for what I have, and the opportunities presented to me.
The benefit to the community is that the more people help those less fortunate or in difficult circumstances, the less likely the individual will become what we often refer to as a statistic. The majority of us are very blessed and fortunate in our lives and giving back to our communities is one way we can show gratitude for what we’ve been able to accomplish.