Growing up, I have always felt the need to help out in the community any way I can. As I joined various community pursuits, I have been fortunate enough to meet like-minded, and really, like-hearted people who have devoted their lives to selfless initiatives. From skills training in impoverished areas to volunteering in halfway houses, they have made it their life’s purpose to be persons for others.
There is one amazing thing that I have realized: by giving back, we gain something. That sounds so profound it deserves to be reiterated. BY GIVING BACK, WE GAIN SOMETHING. There are so many things that we unknowingly receive as we live each day with our hands unclenched. Here are some of the things that I personally have experienced as I endeavor to live a life of service.
Giving back is emotionally rewarding. One feels optimism and boundless joy. And this has been proven by science. People who are generous of time, effort, and patience are generally LESS stressful. Best thing about it is that we experience mutual joy. Both the giver and recipient, together, share such happiness.
By being part of community initiatives, I gained so much insight and understanding of people of different walks of life. I found myself less judgmental towards people who act, think, and speak differently than I do. Spending time with those who have diverse backgrounds have allowed me to be more accepting and willing to see life from a new perspective.
When you work for others, you learn the virtues of kindness and compassion. You learn to be humble, to put the needs of others first. You feel so much more grateful for the blessings that you have that you don’t become materialistic or you don’t take your loved ones or your comforts for granted. You sympathize. You empathize. You care more. Giving back makes you a better person for as long as it comes from a genuine place.
I am blessed to have parents who have taught me the beauty of giving back. They have lived a life of service through being active members of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter and by being dedicated educators through their school, ABC Learning Center. My Mom, in particular, grew up with limited means. She told me stories of certain people who treated her and her family unkindly largely due to their “social status” back in the day. One of these people came back one day and asked for help and Mom, without any hint of anger or resentment, gave without hesitation. “For as long as you can, reach out,” she says. “It will come back in one way or another at a time you least expect it.” And I feel that is the secret of living a blessed life. St. Paul said as much in one of his letters to the Corinthians: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
And on that note, I would like to talk about one great community initiative called Operation Rainbow. It is an outreach project which focuses on hare lip or cleft palate concerns. A team of Australian doctors will offer FREE surgery for children with hare lip and cleft palate deformities on November 5 to 10, 2017 at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital (NOPH). Operation Rainbow has been done annually in the Philippines since 1992. For more information, you can call Lette Opsima on 09052917211 or Evelina Opsima Connor at 09053277882.