Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Loyola's Community Service Career Fair

Chris Saksa
Today in McGuire Hall Loyola College hosted its annual Non-Profit and Community Service Career Fair where they continued to showcase how important service is to our school and the Jesuit ideals. The event showcased over thirty-five organizations promoting full-time community service as a great career move and an as option where you can benefit from the learning experience to help further your career preparation. The student turnout along with the countless number of tables loaded with brochures provided plenty reason to believe the Jesuit tradition is being continued at this institution. Each table was manned by an eager representative to explain the joys that come from their work with the less privileged community. This same joy was evident in the reading of “Serving Up Hope” in the Baltimore Sun. The story is one of reconciliation and rebirth where recovering drugs and alcohol addicts. Both Loyola’s Service Fair and the excerpt from the Baltimore Sun shed light on the importance of community aid and how significant a helping hand can be.
As I weaved throughout the students and all the organization’s tables, I realized how important it was to get involved and why Loyola prides itself on its ability to offer these programs. The first table I approached was the March of Dimes organization where I was immediately bombarded with various brochures and a lengthy discussion regarding the program from the representative. This organization dealt with the fight to save babies and help aid the problems associated with their birth. With this service group a person has multiple ways to get involved and aid those in need. For instance the March of Dimes offers a program where graduates can participate in three areas: program services, fundraising or administrative support. Each area allows the participant to engage in this remarkable organization and provide a helping hand along the way. Shortly after my discussion concluded with the representative I continued to browse the fair. The next program I stumbled upon was a truly inspirational organization called Operation Teach. The representative described the program as a strong alternative to just trying to get a job as a teacher, while participant’s aid and gain valuable teaching experience. After two years teaching at a Catholic elementary or secondary school while being given medical benefits and housing, graduates receive their Master of the Arts in Teaching from the College of Notre Dame. This is a truly fantastic program for any prospective teachers, where they gain priceless experience teaching and aid in the community by providing the greatest gift of all, education. This program’s idea parallels exactly what Bridget and Galen Sampson depict the article “Serving Up Hope”.
Much like what is asked in the Operation Teach program, the Sampson’s sacrificed for the community in hope to better our world. The program they started, similar to Operation Teach, is called Chefs in the Making where they offer opportunistic jobs in the culinary arts to recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. Galen Sampson gave up his job as a five star chef to help aid the community through his new “Dogwood Deli”. He said, “I’ve always wanted to give back. I’ve been searching for a way to apply myself and my skills to make the most difference.” His selflessness is exactly what the world needs and why Loyola pushes these service opportunities so hard. To take your strengths and use them to better others is truly what service is all about, and the Sampson’s contribution to the Baltimore community should be commended. But then again that’s not why Sampson started up the program to begin with.
Between the fair and the reading I’ve come to the realization of how important service to the community is and why I need to go out and help. That is why Loyola and the Sampson’s present these opportunities and that’s what makes our community a better place to live.

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