East Coast LSIers served in Rhode Island and New York in the following places: La Salle Academy, Tides Family Services, St. Raphael Academy, and Serviam Gardens.
Occasionally on Tuesdays or Thursdays, I remain up in the academic center all day. If the day is slow I have a quick 30 minute lunch anywhere between 12:00pm and 2:00pm. If the day is busy I don’t eat at all. It’s very rarely a slow day.
My favorite days were probably the ones that Olivia and I spent helping in the Art Department, as there was definitely a need for us there. We cut boards for the students to make their projects and helped touch up some of the art on the wall in the hallway which was a ton of fun.
I quickly questioned what kind of impact I was actually making if I had not made those bonds I looked forward to creating. Was I even helping the school or was I just being a bother? It wasn’t until this last week that I came home every afternoon with a sense of pride for what I have done. It wasn’t that my service had miraculously and spontaneously improved. It wasn’t that I all of a sudden was given immensely fulfilling tasks to help out the science department. It was my attitude that changed. I started living in the now. I started forming those student relationships that made my final “good bye” so heart wrenching.
The overall most important thing that I took away from the most difficult yet rewarding experience of my life was that consistency and patience is the key to gratifying service.
I believe people perform service work with the best of intentions, but as humans, we expect or at least have a small desire to receive positive reinforcement that we are doing something right and are very appreciated. Our effects, however, are unpredictable and could appear weeks or months down the line. It’s a simple concept, but hard to accept in your heart when all you’re used to is instant gratification.