A change begins now
March 5, 2012
On Feb. 25, a group of 25 students gathered together and headed to the Kamehameha & Kaahumanu Housing to paint and clean several units for low income, needy families.
I’ve come across homeless people before and always heard about their situation. People have always told me to help these people that need help to bring a change in their lives, but I could never relate to it and I didn’t know how to help these people. It was only until after participating in one community service project that my thoughts have changed completely.
Prior to the weekend, I didn’t know what to expect and I only signed up to do it because I wanted to fill up a portion of my time during the weekend. I didn’t have any idea about how much of an impact this could make in another person’s life.
The 25 of us were split into separate groups, and we went to three separate units to help clean and paint the units. I spent the morning working with four fellow Chaminade students and a group of volunteers from other parishes.
Learning how to paint an apartment was a challenge because, for many of us, it was our first time attempting to paint the walls of an apartment for a family to live in. In the beginning, it felt like a time-consuming process because we had to clean the dirt on all walls in the apartment before we painted to make sure that the paint doesn’t stay on the dirt and doesn’t come off the walls easily. We had to repeat this process for the entire apartment.
As time progressed, it became more than just doing community service for a class or to kill time. Instead it was about giving back and bringing a change to our larger community. Most low-income families do not have a decent place to live in and they need all the help they can get to live a better life. It becomes our responsibility to help bring this optimistic change into their lives and help them change for the better.
“I wanted students to realize what role they play in the larger community,” said Maimoa Fineisaloi, community service coordinator campus minister. “I wanted them to be inspired and motivate to do more, to seek out other service opportunities … to encourage their peers and to appreciate what they’re blessed with and want to share that with everyone.”
After participating in this housing project, it also taught another student an important lesson.
“Sometimes in life we aren’t blessed with money, education or shelter,” said Floresa Santo, sophomore nursing major student. “I realized that I should be thankful for all I have and because I have so much already I should give back to the community by helping others have a shelter over their head, a clean and homely place in live in.”
We tend to have a mind-set to think that if we can’t relate to a group of people out in the community who need help, we won’t come to help. Before I participated in the housing project, I had the exact same mind-set. But after helping out, I had a different thought to helping out with the larger community. I am blessed to have an education, a shelter to live in, food to eat and many more. There is more to life than getting a new pair of shoes or a new car. It gave me a different perspective on life. You can learn a life lesson from participating in a meaningful community service like this one. It is much more rewarding than you can ever think and far from what you may have expected.
“It made me feel that there is more to life than all the luxuries,” Santos said. “Sometimes you got to work hard, sometimes it isn’t given to us so easily.”
It becomes our responsibility to give back to the community that has helped us grow as people and as students.
“If you’re going to be here … then embrace everything that Chaminade has got to offer,” Fineisaloi said.
There are many different ways to help bring back to community and even the smallest change can bring a positive influence to our community. Happiness isn’t always about buying a new outfit. When you have the ability to contribute to a positive change in someone’s life and help provide a better living atmosphere for less fortunate families to live in, it becomes a great sense of accomplishment and a rewarding experience. It’s more than words can explain. If we don’t act now, then when should be act?