Service is a manifestation of compassion in action. Not only that, but service is a foundational tool to be a compassionate leader. We strive to cultivate compassionate leaders by incorporating elements of service on our courses. Whether it’s picking up trash in natural areas, volunteering at an animal shelter for the day or helping to maintain the trails we use on courses, students learn the importance of service as a way to give back to the community.
“Leadership is rooted not in power and authority, but in service and wisdom.” -Robin Wall Kimmerer in Braiding Sweetgrass
Saturday, August 29th is Serve Your Community Day, which means many of us will be partaking in acts of service to better our communities near and far. One day to encourage and celebrate community service is great, though I’ve been curious as to how I can incorporate service more into my daily life.
What would it look like to commit acts of service every day in a way that isn’t completely draining? With this question in mind, I came up with five ideas to incorporate acts of service into your daily life.
1. Check in With Your People
A phone call or short text message to check in with the folks in your life is a simple way to let them know they’re important to you. Small acts of service, like sending a postcard or dropping off food, is a sweet way to remind your community they’re supported and that you have their back. It’s especially important during these times that people feel like they’re not alone in dealing with feelings of isolation, loneliness and the many other challenges that have arisen from the pandemic.
Let’s all remember: we’re in this together!
2. If You’ve Got It, Give It
Make it rain for BIPOC-owned organizations and businesses! That is, consider donating to businesses that are run by black, indigenous, people of color. If you have the spare funds, now is better than ever to make those donations recurring in a way that’s sustainable for you. Monetary support is crucial to enable BIPOC-run organizations to stay afloat during the pandemic, which means that now more than ever it’s important to spend money where the money is due. A quick Google search is an easy way to find local BIPOC-owned businesses and get ideas on who to support, but here’s a good place to start.
3. Volunteer at a Local Organization
There are countless ways you can volunteer your time, resources and energy right now. Despite social distancing restrictions, organizations are still looking for helping hands.
Donating blood is a fantastic way to provide support during a global health crisis. If you feel well and exhibit no COVID-19 symptoms, visit the American Red Cross website to get started. Food banks and shelters are also in need of in-person and virtual help. Check out your local food bank to learn more about the in-person and virtual help needed.
4. Do What You’re Doing, but Better
I challenge you to take a look at your daily routine, the things you consume and the places where you spend your time. Examine how you can continue those actions with a deeper consideration of others and the environment. What ideas come to mind?
Maybe you like to walk your dog at local parks or take long strolls on the beach every morning. These are great times to carry a plastic bag with you and collect pieces of trash along the way. Is there room to adjust what you consume? If feasible, consider buying from small businesses and sourcing your food from a farmer’s market. That way you can support your local economy all while moving towards a carbon-neutral future.
5. Take Responsibility for Your Impact
When we consider our communities and take stock of our strengths and vulnerabilities, we can understand how to best support those in need. COVID-19 is a prime opportunity for everyone to make conscious decisions that directly impact the lives of others. The responsibility to carry on safely is on all of us, and that’s why wearing a mask, washing your hands and being thoughtful about your exposure are all small acts of service that could mean life or death to those around you.
Service to others is an integral part of Outward Bound’s mission. Although it can take many forms, its impact is widespread and palpable. With these five ideas in mind, ask yourself, what do I have to offer? What resources, skills or time can you share with your community?
We hope you join us in celebrating Serve Your Community Day so we can all continue to perpetuate a culture of compassion and support during these unprecedented times. To get more ideas, check out our post here.
And don’t forget, service is an ongoing action—so make sure you make it sustainable for yourself!
About the Author
Eva Johnson has worked at the Colorado Outward Bound School as a Field Intern and Logistics Coordinator. She’s a Colorado native and if she’s not in Leadville working for Outward Bound, she’s probably adventuring in South America, surfing on the rugged Oregon coast or teaching kids to climb rocks.
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