Abram Karnthong, a high school freshman who chose Leadership and Public Service as his curriculum emphasis, was given the assignment to perform ten hours of community service and then write a reflection of his experience. Abram contacted The Interfaith Peace Project for service possibilities and chose to spend his hours at a food pantry. Following is Abram’s reflection of his experience:
“This experience has benefited me in many ways. I learned that anyone can help a person in need. That helping someone gives a source of empowerment and confidence. I learned that even when you do a little it goes a long way. I had the pleasure of working with fine men and women giving food to people who just don’t have enough to feed themselves, and people with families that work full time jobs and barely get by.
I worked alongside people who helped even though they don’t have much either. Even when they are in need of someone they still give and that has an effect on people. When I gave food bags to people I saw gratitude in their eyes and that made me want to do more. When you have something that you can give, give it. Almost anything you do to help really does help. It gives will power and encouragement to keep going and when you need help, the people that you helped will be there for you.
The food we gave out was food that was unwanted by local grocery stores and was going to be disposed, and it was fine food! The next time I’m about to throw something away I will think, “Can this help someone?” and I will save as much as I can to give to people who need it. I believe we didn’t just give out food, we gave out hope and courage, and it brought out empowerment in the people. It said “if you need help we are there” and people pass it on like a ripple effect.
When people do help it’s not just passing groceries to others in need, there are many different ways to help. You can donate, help shelter homeless, you can pick up trash, or teach kids who can’t get education. There are many ways you can make a difference. All I did was serve 10 hours, imagine how much would change if everybody pitched in. They don’t have to work hours on end, but if they set goals like help this many people or serve this amount of time then that would be a good start.
After I finished I didn’t feel like it was some chore or project that I had to turn in (even though it was), I felt it was a privilege to serve these people’s needs. I even almost forgot it was for school! I don’t want people that haven’t gone through this experience themselves to think that it’s boring and hard and that they won’t like it. If they push themselves to make the right decisions and volunteer at least some of their time it will not only make themselves feel better but will be able to say I’ve helped someone. It will cause others to help and it will look good on a resume.
In the future I will definitely be doing this again and hope others will follow me to become leaders.”