The benefits of being an active voice in your community, especially through community action, are seemingly endless. Not only does being an engaged, socially-responsible citizen positively impact the community, but it positively impacts and empowers the individual just the same. According to Florida National University, just some of the benefits of participating in community service include:
- Psychological benefits: Volunteering increases overall life satisfaction and helps you feel good about yourself because you are helping others. It can also help to decrease stress and ease depression.
- Social benefits: Volunteering engages students with the community, creates special bonds with the population being served, and increases social awareness and responsibility.
- Cognitive benefits: Volunteering helps students enhance their personal knowledge, grow from new experiences, and develop better interpersonal communication skills.
At Crossroads, we believe that community action is integral to creating the kind of world we want to live in, and we empower our young people see that too. Beginning as early as first grade, we make sure community service and giving back is an intentional part of the Crossroads curriculum both during the summer at camp and during the school year through events such as Pathway Weekends.
During the month of January, we start the new year off with a strong emphasis on community action in celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and the other inspiring social activists and change-makers throughout the past and in the present. At a recent Pathway Weekend event, we asked some of our C5 Leaders to spend time reflecting on Dr. King’s legacy and to share some of their own personal community heroes and quotes that inspire them to remain committed to a better future. Below are some of their responses.
Hero – One present day activist that I see as a role model is Yara Shahidi. I find her to be a refined, inspirational young woman with goals to stress the importance of girls’ education and to get teens my age to discuss social issues and how to take action. The fact that she is only 18 years old and she has done so many things makes her seem even more amazing to me because I think that it is important that young people talk about the issues going on in the world today.”
Favorite Quote – “Ignorance is not saying, ‘I don’t know.’ Ignorance is saying, ‘I don’t want to know.'”
Hero – “My grandmother. She lived her life saving young women from bad households and situations and changed many lives.
Favorite Quote – “I am strong because I know my weaknesses.”
Hero – “I look up to Ayanna Pressley because she is the first African American woman to represent Massachusetts in Congress.”
Favorite Quote – “In the end, we only regret the chances we don’t take.”
Hero – “I admire Rosa Parks and what she did because to someone like me, a young black man, I’d find it really hard to stand up for myself in a situation like that.”
Favorite Quote – “Sunsets are a clear example that endings are beautiful.”
Hero – “I look up to Michelle Obama because she was the first and only black woman to be the First Lady in the United States. She has done so much to help out the community and gives back to others who are less fortunate, just like how we give back to our community in C5
Favorite Quote – “The life you want begins with embracing the life you have.”
Hero – “An activist I look up to is Martin Luther King, Jr. I look up to him because he was determined to see a change and he wanted what was best for the children who came after him. His determination impacts people even today. He has influenced people all over the world to follow their dreams and to ‘take the step, even if you don’t see the whole staircase.'”
Favorite Quote – “And so, she decided to start living the life she imagined.”