We serve because we want to trade in our time, money, and talents for the knowledge and satisfaction that someone’s life was bettered because of our gifts. We want to share what we have to make a difference to get some warm fuzzies. Many of us want to give back to our community and impact the area that has impacted us, creating a local service focus. Our country, our state, and our city are all far from perfect, and it is very understandable and very noble for individuals to want to direct their efforts to create improvements in these areas. It is a common sentiment that we need to fix our country before we can begin to think about giving globally. While I wholeheartedly support, encourage, and participate in local service, I also want to encourage people to zoom out a little bit and take a look at the bigger picture. Local service and global service do not have to be mutually exclusive, being involved in both offers wonderful experiences and multiplies the possibilities for meaningful change.
We are constantly reminded of all of the problems our local areas have ranging from poverty to poor health care to pollution. While these issues do exist and are important, it is also important to take note that compared to many areas of the world we are incredibly blessed. Being an American is such a beautiful privilege as we have the freedom to sustain our own beliefs and the opportunity to pursue them. Sure, we are far from a utopia, but we are certainly much closer than other parts of the world. Whether you believe it was luck or a divine act that got you to this country, it is something that should not be taken for granted for it is important to remember that we all could have just as easily been born into a third world society. I say this not to impose guilt or a sense of obligation, but rather as a reminder that we all have been granted with an incredible opportunity. We have been given an ability to give that is larger than most. This is a gift that allows us to help both our local neighbors and our neighbors around the world if we so chose. So next time you are considering where to serve or give, don’t rule out the global community. Your impact will still be felt and you can still get warm fuzzies even from across the globe.
Here are some neat global service organizations to check out:
West African Vocational Schools: http://wavschools.org/
Charity Water: http://www.charitywater.org/
Amor Ministries: http://www.amor.org/
International Student Volunteers: http://www.isvolunteers.org/
Or consider purchasing some goods that benefit global communities (It’s a win win! You give support and get some cool stuff in return):
Toms (Shoes and Eyewear): http://www.toms.com/
Krochet Kids (Crocheted goods): http://www.krochetkids.org/
Global Mamas (Tons of handmade items): http://www.globalmamas.org/