Instilling the Idea of Service

By Ken Kudick

On the afternoon of January 30, the fire siren rang out in the small town of Eureka. Someone had called 911 to report smoke coming out of the eaves of a house in town. Being a member of the volunteer fire department, I rushed to the scene and was part of the team that went in a put out the fire – just doing what we as a fire department do when we are needed.

It was later that I found out that the family in this house was in the process of moving out, and that they didn’t have much to begin with. There are three teenage daughters in this family and suddenly much of what they did have was damaged by the fire.

Part of my job at Chrysalis is to lead Wednesday night service activities. During the year we visit residents at our local nursing home, help package food at the food pantry, do yard cleanup for elderly or disabled families, and much more. I found myself presented with a new opportunity to fill a need in our community. Over the next week several other staff members and I made announcements that encouraged students to look through their belongings and see if there was something they would be willing to donate to the family whose belongings were damaged in the fire. When I went through all the different items donated by both students and staff I ended with two pairs of boots, a bottle of shampoo, a large trash liner filled with clothes, and a suitcase full of clothes.

One of the things we hope to instill in the students at Chrysalis is a positive idea ofservice. This might be a new or foreign concept to some of the students, but it doesn’t take a long time in being here before they begin to see what they can accomplish, and the experience of helping those in need. Students who may have come with a negative attitude towards the idea of taking time to help someone else suddenly find themselves excited to be going to play bingo with residents at the nursing home, or writing letters to soldiers overseas, or raking up leaves and pine needles in an elderly couple’s yard. As a staff it is very rewarding to see what and how much the students can accomplish for this community and the willingness that the students present as we go into another activity.