Service and Community Involvement
Self-worth is the greatest thing you get through giving.
We all feel good when we’re doing something that matters – about the good we’re doing, about the people we do it for and about ourselves.
Students often begin an international service experience wondering why in the world they would want to do something difficult for someone else. There’s no apparent quid pro quo and no promise that the recipients would ever do something for them in return. Then, during the process, slowly but surely, they begin to understand that even though the project is for someone else, the real reward comes back to us – those who give.
On the way home, our bags are lighter and our hearts are full. Nothing else compares, and nothing can diminish the sense of honor, blessing and accomplishment that comes from doing something wonderfully important for someone else. The experience lives on in our hearts forever.
No action is too small when the outcome is so great.
The process is a collective one, from modest gestures like delivering food and clothing, cleaning, painting, collecting trash and gardening to major efforts like creating fresh water and sanitation systems, building schools, caring for orphans and teaching younger students.
- Weekly service, on campus or off, includes activities at a local nursing home and an animal shelter, raking leaves, stacking wood for families in town and writing letters to military soldiers.
- On our annual week-long campus-wide trip to Glacier National Park each July, we work on trails with the National Park Service, hike and camp.
- We take two international trips each year that typically focus on public service.
- A group of students serves at the Special Olympics in Whitefish, Montana, each year.
- We track every student’s service hours so they can reference the hours on job and college applications (often 100-200 hours).
There is truth in the notion that happiest are those who give of themselves.
Treatment at Chrysalis tends to be focused on the individual, as it should be. Yet we think it’s imperative to teach our students to be focused on others as well and empower them to give of themselves. Teaching our students the importance of community involvement helps them develop into responsible, caring, confident and happy individuals.