Community Service is a personal commitment, not a corporate responsibility. Community Service, in another word, means doing something that is meaningful for the welfare of the people who are in needs. To involve or not to involve in a social work depends on our own decision, not a corporate’s decree. Social Services is defined as the professional activity of helping individuals, groups, or communities in enhancing and restoring their capacity for social functioning and creating societal conditions favorable to the goal (The National Association of Social Workers’ Board of Directors, 2011).
Personal commitment is an act or quality of voluntarily taking on or fulfilling obligations (Wikipedia, 2012). What makes the personal commitment ‘personal’ is the voluntary aspect. Anyone can become a part of the community services regardless of their race, language or citizenship status. People participate in community and social work because of their desire in serving the society who are in need and their interest in involving themselves in community project. It is our own choice of whether or not to get involved in community service. Once we have decided, a personal commitment in servicing the community is made.
Getting the intention right signifies how deep one’s commitment is towards servicing the society. Ask ourselves these questions: Why am I doing the community work? What is the motive of participating in social work? Do I really have the desire to help them, or am I ‘performing’ just to gain compliments from my supervisors? Being in a community work and a real community work is different. A real community work occurs when a group of true and honest people come together and work with the common goal of assisting people who are in need by providing them resources they need.
Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in (Moore, 2004). Every single person has their own lawful human rights to ‘vote’ in this society. Whether or not one wants to spend their time and money to the community is a matter of choice. We can expect every single one of us to participate in social work, but we cannot force someone to perform social work because that violates human rights. Since the year of 1986, the Atlanta’s 100 Black Men Inc. ith their community service program, ‘Project Success’, has become one of the city’s most effective community organization.
They are successful because of the love and care they have towards the children who are in need. One of the members in the company, Ed Frances said, ‘Personal commitment often produces some touching moments. ’ (Atlanta’s 100 Black Men Inc. , 1990) Each and every member in the community organization has had the desire and strong will of shining for the others. Without the commitment from each member, the organization would not be successful. We may not be shining as brightly as we need to shine, but we are definitely shining, and we are doing something,’ said the President of the organization, Dr. Joseph I. Hoffman Jr. The persistence they show, together with the commitment they have has made a difference to the world.
Community Service is an individual personal commitment because it is often performed outside of our working hours. It is the time where you can be yourself, the time where you enjoy the moment of assisting people who needs love. It is the time where we enjoy being in our ‘sacred place’ – a place where we recognize ourselves and our commitments. Turkle, 2011) There is a person whom I respect commits her time in doing voluntary work after her retirement as a teacher. She was my primary school Chinese Language teacher. I remember when I first asked her, why do you travel around the world as a voluntary worker after your retirement? Why don’t you just stay at home and be a lady of leisure? ’ She smiled to me and said, ‘There are many people in this world who are less fortunate than we are. I have been blessed for 60 years, it is more than enough. It’s my time now to be a blessing to the others.
It gives me a break in everything that I do while helping others. Being a voluntary worker is the most awesome moment I have ever had in my life. I have no regrets now. ’ Community service is a personal commitment because it only works well when we have desire and interest in it. Community service should not be a corporate responsibility, but a personal commitment because of the passion in each of us. Every one of us has different passion in things, don’t we? Only people who have the passion and joy in serving the community can make a personal commitment to the community.
Personal commitment tends to produce a more effective and fruitful result compared to an organizational commitment. (Curtis & Eby, 2010) Not everybody has the similar pursuit and hobby. Some people love swimming, diving, and some even have assisting people as their hobby. We only decide in doing something when we feel that we can do it, and we want to do it. Once decision is made, we will put in our extra attention and effort into it. The result will be promising because not only we put in our strength, but we place our heart in serving the community too.
Conversely, if we are forced to perform something that we are not fond of, the result will never be impressive. For instance, XYZ Company organize a Chinese Festival and make it compulsory for all regular officers to work as voluntary workers outside their working hours. Some will love it, some will grumble, some will nag and some will protest. Complaints from the workers will not produce a satisfying result. This is because company forces them to do so, but in their heart, they are not committed in performing community service. They ‘appear’ to be committed, but actually they are not. In conclusion, who is a real volunteer?
A real volunteer is a person who gives their personal commitment into serving others, who remembers to do things to make other people happy, who takes the loneliness out of the alone by talking to them, who is concerned when others are unconcerned, who has the courage to be a prophet and to say the things that have to be said for the good of all. (Moore, 2004) Being able to participate in serving the community is a great privilege we have. Mother Teresa once said: “Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go. (Teresa, 1990) Money is not everything in the social service network.
Patience, love and strength are the important criteria we need to have in serving the community as well. Volunteering in a service to the community is a personal choice and responsibility. Only those who have the desire to love, to care and are willing to devote fully into helping others unconditionally are able to make a commitment to the community. A real, hidden and personal commitment we make to ourselves and to the society. Therefore, I strongly believe that servicing in the community is a personal commitment and not a corporate responsibility.