How I spent my winter break giving back
It all started in high school when my dean said that I needed more extracurricular activities in my schedule. She told me that perhaps I should check out the Red Cross club or Habitat for Humanity. Thinking that I would most likely not get into college because I didn’t have some community service on my application, I did as she said and checked the club out. I did my research on both options my college counselor presented to me and came to the conclusion that I wanted to a part of the Habitat for Humanity leadership committee. I applied to be in a leadership position for the Habitat for Humanity Club at my school, thoroughly explained my zeal for helping others, and whole heartedly explained why I would be a good fit for the position. I got rejected; the Habitat for Humanity club didn’t give me the position. It was in this moment that I realized why I needed community service more than it needed me. I was told that I should check out Habitat for Humanity because I needed to look better on paper and also do some good things for people that need it. I had it so wrong, my college counselor had it so wrong, I didn’t need to be better on paper, I just needed to be better entirely. It was in this moment of rejection from a position that I wanted because I did like helping people that I realized that all of this competition was not what community service was all about. There are no positions in helping others, there is no other purpose other than helping, and there is no rejection. I didn’t like the culture of making volunteer service a competition of who could do the most or make themselves seem the most caring. I left this moment behind and decided to never look at community service the same way again.
Months and maybe even a year later at Babson I find myself overloaded and craving to help myself advance, just as I had felt in the high school crunch for college. I get an email for a trip for Habitat for Humanity, and once again the memories all flooded back. Wanting to help people, someone telling me that I needed to seem like a better person, and getting rejected from something I really wanted to do. I ignored the email, giving myself a million reasons on why I didn’t have time for this trip, but something just told me to apply. I did and now I can write to you with my first day under my belt. I am so happy I changed the way I saw volunteering. I am here today with a genuine desire to offer my energy for the betterment of someone else’s life. I have made friends, memories, and bonds from this trip and it has only been going on for about 24 hours. I would never have taken the chance to apply and appreciate an opportunity like this if it weren’t for Habitat for Humanity. Any other community service trip would not have brought back the same memories and would not have made me want to help as much as this specific trip spoke to me. As we are all preparing for our first day of work, I am happy to say I am here with people I enjoy and an open heart to helping and growing.
Mintis Hankerson ’18