Learning Through Service

Annie Enrietto, Writer

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Loyola strongly encourages its student body to participate in service, and even has several programs that require students to partake in it. While there is pressure to just do service to be able to log in hours and say “I helped someone else,” I have had the fortunate experience of service being so much more.

I volunteer at a site called Our Place, which works with young adults with physical and mental disabilities and has them participate in various activities such as bowling, art, exercise, etc. To me, using the word “volunteer” to describe my time at Our Place, doesn’t feel quite right, as my time spent at Our Place doesn’t feel like service. To me, spending time at Our Place is a chance for me to hang out with friends, who teach me a little bit more about life every day.

For example, one member of Our Place named Val has severe physical disabilities that limit her eyesight and force her to use a walker to get around. Yet, each and every time I see Val she has a smile on her face and never complains about all of the struggles she faces on a daily basis. In fact, most of the time she insists she’s lazy for not doing more!

Another member of Our Place named Eric has also provided me with various valuable life lessons. It doesn’t matter what type of day Eric has had, he always says hello and asks how my day has gone. Eric also makes sure that all of the other participants are okay. For example, if Eric thinks someone else is sad or has had a hard day, he will go sit and chat with them to make sure that person knows that someone is there for them.

These are just two of the numerous participants, who all have impacted my life in countless ways.

At Our Place, I have learned what it truly means to be there for others and how I can become more. I have learned what it means to see beyond my viewpoint, and to step into the shoes of another person, which is why I would encourage other ramblers to partake in service. Not so they can check off another thing to say they’ve done, but rather so they too experience what it means to become more.

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Learning Through Service