My Service

11 Nov

My first volunteer work as an Americorp member was at the Washington City Mission. Every Tuesday morning I went and volunteered as a baby sitter for the residents. The intent for the program was a wonderful idea–for babysitters to watch these toddlers while their mothers went to parenting classes or looked for jobs.

Unfortunately,  the program wasn’t carried out as well as it should have been. The residents used the time to nap or relax and smoke instead of doing something constructive.  It was really sad to see how these mothers behaved towards their children. They clearly love them but many of them have addictions that take precedence of their babies.

The babysitting program has ended now because the mothers didn’t use it to help themselves, and so I am volunteering now at the Salvation Army.  This experience was a lesson to me about the importance of good leadership in a volunteer program.The Salvation Army project is very well run and the kids benefit greatly from it.  The atmosphere is wonderful–it’s obvious that the leaders enjoy what they’re doing and have a clear goal for their program.

A more difficult lesson about service that you can take away from my experience is that sometimes we’re not able to do all that we would like for people in bad situations. Sometimes it’s because of a lack in leadership, resources, or cooperation, but there is often a limit to how far our service can go. I could not help these women out at the mission because the program wasn’t executed well, and I had to accept that and look for a different way to help out where I would make a difference.  There’s a lot of hope in this lesson too–with good leadership, help, and planning, even a struggling program can be made into on that will change lives.

-Sara

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2 Responses to “My Service”

  1. Alex November 12, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    I’m so glad you liked it at the Salvation Army, Sara! Thary, Ciarra, and I loved having you there and we’re looking forward to even more Wednesdays with you. 🙂

    • Megs November 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

      Thanks for the honest reflection Sara! I know the work at the Mission as challenging and your did not feel like you were valued. It is my hope that you have a different experience working at the Salvation Army.

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