Blog post by Michele Pitman, Founder & CEO, intelliVOL
Serving the Uvalde community is an experience that I won’t forget.
As soon as my husband and I heard about the tragedy in Uvalde we were overwhelmed with the need to take action. We immediately knew what to do after seeing a post on social media. We own a food trailer and we follow other highly engaged local food trailers. One of them immediately went to Uvalde for a day and handed out food. We wanted to do the same. We talked to members of our community and within hours, money and donations arrived.
My husband called Sacred Heart Catholic Church and asked to help. They accepted our offer. Within 24 hours we were there representing the thoughts and prayers of our town a couple of hours away. We served 300 meals to a grieving community for free. We grieved with them. We wished we could have done more for them.
Uvalde is an extreme example of a community in distress. We wanted to rush to them to assist in any way we could. It was a day of tears and heartbreak for us as they shared their stories. We never asked anyone to tell us anything – they shared openly and we all cried together. Sometimes serving others is painful.
Service requirements in school train students to recognize opportunities and allows them to experience diverse opportunities that allow them to know themselves better.
One of the benefits of a service requirement is that students must seek out ways to help or serve others. Sometimes they are part of a team, sometimes they serve individually. They may work directly with someone who benefits from what they do and sometimes they are behind the scenes. When they serve they develop an ability to look for ways to help. They are not helpless. There is always a way to take action in a small way.
I know that what my husband and I did was just a drop in the bucket of what the community of Uvalde needs. But we just wanted to do something. Our community wanted to help. The action that the food trailer we follow on social media inspired us to do the same. Inspiration can come from many places. It’s having an open heart and mind that gives us the ability to act.
I hope that no teacher, parent, brother, sister, nurse, officer, clergy or community will face what Uvalde is facing now. But I do hope that people who feel the urge to help others are able to find a way.
It is possible for students to serve so much that it becomes easy for them to identify ways to help others. Students can make note of their circumstances, their resources, their talents, and skills, and use those things to serve others in unique ways.
There are always opportunities to serve and ways to make an impact. Sometimes, it just takes stepping back to analyze your own passions, abilities, and circumstances to identify how we can make an impact large or small.