Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Community Service Career Fair

I attended the Non-profit and Community Service Career Fair in McGuire Hall this afternoon. There were over 35 different non-profit organizations and services programs that were being introduced to Loyola College’s students. The different programs that the fair offered, varied from teaching or taking care of children, to feeding the hungry, to working as a camp counselor, and much more. The main purpose of this fair was to help post-graduates find a job or engage in service programs right after they graduate from school. In addition to that, the programs covered a variety of different majors and fields such as medical, education, business etc. which Loyola students can greatly benefit from for their future careers. Although I am not old enough to really participate in these organizations right now, I was thoroughly interested in particular programs and in what some of the representatives of those programs had to say. Pretty much all of the representatives that I had spoken to, have participated in their service programs since they were young. Since I really enjoy working with children, I visited several of the service programs that involve working with children at summer camps or at schools. A table that I visited was for the Christian Appalachian Project. One of many services that this program offers is the opportunity to help develop children physically, emotionally, and/or intellectually. In order to accomplish this, the service emphasizes the role and importance that family members play in a child’s life, and offers adults the opportunity to learn more on parenting and educating their children. By simply talking to the representatives of these programs, I was able to tell that they are extremely passionate about what they do, whether it’s participating in the service program themselves or simply telling another person all about it. The thing that I found amazing while I was walking through the fair is that there actually are people in the world who are willing to dedicate their time and effort to making a difference in their community. Not only that, but they are willing to dedicate their own time to something that does not give them personal benefits or compensation. I personally think that people like that in today’s society are very hard to encounter, but Loyola believing a true Jesuit Education has fortunately provided its students with many opportunities to make a difference in their community, or even to get a head start on a future career that they may be looking into. The community service career fair exemplifies one of Loyola’s main Jesuit beliefs in giving back to communities and serving social justice.
The article “Serving Up Hope” featured in the Baltimore Sun can strongly tie into Loyola’s Jesuit values on social service and justice in the community. “Serving Up Hope” is about a chef named Galen Sampson and his wife Bridgett that help former convicts and drug users get back on their feet and towards a positive career path. In order to do this, Galen teaches them his culinary skills so they can help him out in his deli, and provides a positive atmosphere and conditions for them to work in. The article states that Lewis, a 43-year old former drug addict, says that his meeting with the Sampsons gave him “the strength to enter rehab once again and stay clean.” This shows that the Sampson’s generosity to provide jobs for these men and women is really making a huge difference in their lives. In the article, Galen states, “‘I’ve always wanted to give back,’ says Sampson….‘I’ve always been searching for a way to apply myself and my skills to make the most difference.’” This is one of the Jesuit ideals here at Loyola College; using your skills and talents to make a difference in society and to help others who are in need. Diana Morris, director of the Open Society Institute in Baltimore, praises Galen and Bridgett for what they have done for these ex-convicts and drug addicts, and says that although he “could do millions of things wit his life,....this is exactly the kind of person we want to identify.” Rather than Galen using his recognizable culinary skills for his own personal benefit, he instead chooses to help those in need of getting their lives back on track.
Just like Galen and Bridgett do at their deli, the Non-Profit Community Service Career Fair helps students find jobs in their fields of study while simultaneously making a difference in their communities. Both Loyola College and the Sampsons have their strong commitment to social justice and passion for serving the community in common, as well as their ideals in using their skills and abilities to make a difference in a rapidly changing world.

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