We all know what Humanics in Action Day is: a day when classes are cancelled and Springfield College ventures out into the community, helping our neighbors. What we don’t always realize is the impact that it actually has.
I know what you’re thinking: I sound like your typical SC advocate. Surprisingly, this is the first year that I wholeheartedly agree with my previous statement. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in giving back to the community and agree that Humanics in Action is a great opportunity to get involved. My feelings have solely rested on my past three Humanics’ experiences.
It was always difficult for me to understand how my cleaning up a field that wasn’t very filthy to begin with or washing plastic chairs for a local elementary school could possibly make much of a difference. Yet I continued to volunteer every year. Maybe I was hoping that I could make an impression on at least one person. Perhaps it was the slight pang of guilt I felt when considering whether to sign up or sleep in.
It wasn’t until my fourth and final Humanics that everything clicked. This year, I, along with five friends, went to a community member’s house and helped with some yard work. We raked leaves, tidied up the garden, cut branches and completed other various forms of landscaping. She was out there with us, helping as much as possible, all the while expressing her gratitude.
It was then I realized that the task is not what’s important, but rather, the meaning of the task. The mere fact that a group of people would go to a stranger’s house to lend a hand is what speaks to the community, more so than the result of the work.
In retrospect, my previous experiences might have reached more members of the community than I had originally thought. What I can really take away from this day is that you don’t always have to see the end result to realize that you made a difference. You don’t necessarily have to do something life-changing to change a life.
Beth Hayden may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org