Everyday Advocate: Serve One Day

One thing I’ve learned by working in affluent communities is that just because there is wealth does not men there isn’t also need.  That need, more often than not, though, is hidden.  Hidden by manicured lawns and nails and designer everything from dogs to jeans to births.

And so you have to go looking for it.  But if you look, you will find it.  Unmet need of all sorts, burdening the people who live an move in your very town.

I believe that giving just one day to serve in your community can greatly aid the search.

Is one day going to change the world?  No.  Is one day going to change your life? Probably not.

But in one day, you can learn a ton about a community.  I’ve only spent one night on Skid Row, but it changed my entire understanding of the homeless community there.  I’ve only gone on one tour of Homeboy Industries, but my understanding of gang intervention is totally different than it used to be.  One day can shape you in a permanent way.  Which is sort of close to changing your life.

If deep justice is a lifestyle, it is expressed at least in part by sacrificing our time on behalf of others, not only, or even necessarily, to help them, but to learn from and about them.

Today our school held its annual day of service.  Service is one of our core values as a university community, and this event kicks off the year with tangible expression thereof.  Half our undergrad population serve that morning, logging almost 6,000 hours beyond the walls of our beachy little bubble.

We bring in over 65 partners for the event who do everything from garden to host after school programs to care for women leaving violent relationships.  Some are literally walking distance from our campus, while others are an hour away.   And each year I listen to students return from just one day, ask each other, ‘So where did you go?’ and proceed to explain one need and one effort at a solution in our community.

Just one day begins uncovering what is hidden.  And if that happens in Malibu, I believe it would happen anywhere.

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