In a community such as ISM, much of what we do revolves around the concept of service – but what really is service? Merriam-Webster Online defines “service” as “contributing to the welfare of others”. So, then, if I help my friend carry their books, should I get service hours for that? Obviously, the school does not grant hours for any action that might contribute to “the welfare of others”, except those that comply by its standards. That being said, is it still service if one cannot receive CAS for it? Let’s talk beyond simple acts of kindness, because service must run deeper than simple manners. In our quest to complete CAS requirements, we often forget that our school is not built around service simply because the IB prescribes it. Service runs much deeper than that; it is a part of what it means to be a Bearcat, but even more so, it is a part of what it means to be a responsible contributor to society.
Gaea Morales, Vice President of the Service Learning Council, has a more elaborate definition, “It is a give and take process, and I feel that an act cannot be considered genuine service without a sense of engagement in the experience. It is about understanding that what you’re doing can create a positive impact on someone else’s life.” Service, then, is about impacting lives for the better. It is about positive change, and an overall improvement of society through whatever act you are able to perform. As Gaea puts so eloquently, “It is the selfless acceptance that though you may only gain a rich learning experience and perhaps new friendships, what you may perceive as temporary benefits can go a long way in the eyes of those in need.”
While the dictionary may put a very general label on service, our school’s heart is founded by this concept. It is truly a process through which we learn, while those we are helping gain our support. It is best summarized in the words we have heard in assemblies from Mr. Toze, Brown, Dickinson, and Woods: “it’s about giving back”.
Article By: Shivani Phadke
Illustration By: Sung Hee Bae