To Serve, To Lead…


Being that I am the Community Service Chair of my church’s youth group, I felt that it was time we volunteer at a soup kitchen.  After creating a poll, it was decided that we would help out at Elijah’s Promise-little did I know that a simple act of community service would be an ultimate life-changer. At first I felt as though I was just being a kind person helping those who are less fortunate, but instead, I began to realize that the tables were turned–they were helping me.  This experience allowed me to take a step back, escape from reality for a split second, and really focus on who I am, my purpose, and my future.  This simple act of pouring food on a plate can be done by anyone, but an individual’s explanation for why he/she decided to show up in the first place is what separates him/her from the rest.

“The place we call home.”

In my case, I had come to a realization that not only did I show up to feed the less fortunate and to attend a community service event, but to make a difference in this world–to establish that warm atmosphere where the homeless feel welcome, to give others the opportunity to talk about their day to those who want to listen, and to pull the entire community closer together. I felt this sense of comfort and relief after chatting with a few regulars–they didn’t consider Elijah’s Promise’s soup kitchen to be a temporary place to eat, but a place to call other members of the community their family, a place to cry on someone’s shoulder, a place they called home.

“It starts with service, and ends with leadership.”

To me, servant leadership is putting the act of service first, then creating a leadership role for yourself second.  One must ensure that the needs of others are met before one’s own.  True natural leadership then emerges when one has the continuous urge to help others–to keep that smile on everyone’s faces.  This is how organizations and companies thrive; by planning and producing for the greater good.  For example, the Off-Campus Students’ Association’s purpose is to cater to commuter and off-campus students–once they are happy, we are happy because we would begin to see the fruits of our labor!  We must look at the bigger picture and understand that by putting others before ourselves, we are showing a good example, and, in fact, leading others to mimic our actions–it starts with service, and ends with leadership.

As I mentioned earlier, serving at Elijah’s Promise was a time of personal growth for me; to reflect on myself.  After seeing all of the smiling faces, hearing the laughter, and feeling the love, I definitely felt as though I had made a difference that night.  I then asked myself,  “What if I could feel like this everyday, for the rest of my life?”  Then I thought about the many different ways I can apply this idea of servant leadership to my future career of being a lawyer.  By caring for the needs of others in respect to the criminal justice system, I will be putting my clients before myself, hence seeing the positive change I witnessed that night at the soup kitchen.  I hope to lead by example, so that one day we can all become helping-hands and service leaders.

The video below perfectly explains the joy one feels when taking part in a great cause.  Not only did I nourish one’s mind by volunteering, but I also nourished their soul.  They now feel a sense of belonging and that they matter in this world.  It really is a wonderful feeling to know that you are being a servant and providing service for those who need it—their constant smiles and gratitude makes me want to continue giving back to my community and to lead others to do the same. I hope that one day, each and every one of us will have some sort of serving experience, because I can guarantee you that it will change your life for the better.



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