The DC Voice

Why Should We Do Community Service?

I was taught early in life that giving back to the community in which I lived; grew up in and impacted, was a requirement.  My parents were my first role model of volunteerism.  My mother was one of the original founders of the local chapter of 100 Black Women; and she also volunteered at the Boy’s & Girls Club, teaching performing arts classes.  My father volunteered with a Male Mentor Ministry in our church and gave golf lessons.

My first volunteer assignment was feeding the homeless.  I remember at the age of 8, going to the shelter with my mom; and was given a white apron, plastic gloves; and a hairnet.  I was charged with handing out napkins.  I remember feeling so proud that I was helping.  But I also recall feeling sad. Prior to going to the shelter; my mother talked to me outside of our two-story, three-car garage home with a pool; and explained where we were going and why we were doing it.  She told me that we were going to “feed people that did not have a home, food or jobs.”  I recall her saying, “and there but for the Grace of God, could be us.” I didn’t fully understand, but once I got there, and I saw kids my age; that’s when I became sad.  On the way home, I told my mother that I wanted to give the kids some of my clothes and toys.  I was so excited to pack a box of items, and I gave away things that I never thought I could part with because I was so determined to make a difference.

And today, that motto of making a difference still stays with me. I continue to support organizations such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army with donations and my time.  And I admire and support athletes, actors, CEO’s, and those with influence who go back into their communities to make a difference as well.

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Dana Thomas

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