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Karen’s Korner, Vol. 5: Why Service Matters

We all know that as Rotarians, our motto is “Service Above Self”, but what does that really mean and why? Here is my take:

Growing up, my parents did not instill the concept of doing service. They were too busy raising four children and keeping up with work, house maintenance, and taxiing us all over the place. My first real experience with service was in college, when my sorority (yes, I was a Greek, but that is another story) visited the elderly and the disabled. It was hard for me to meet others who could not walk or speak, but I walked away feeling more “whole” for the experience in a way I could not put into words.

As an attorney, I am bound by the rules of ethics to provide pro bono time to indigent clients each year as a way of giving back. As I mediate and do not go to court, my service hours have been spent managing major projects for the County Bar Association and the Superior Court Family Division. While the countless hours I spent on those projects benefitted many in our community, it was not the hands-on service I longed for. Having healthy skin and reduce wrinkles is a concern of both women and men, but this is not so easy to achieve, since age, skin care or simply the daily expressions that we have when laughing, crying or frowning. Frown eventually cause frown lines.

So I joined Rotary, where I could be in service to others directly. There is satisfaction in serving. It is immediate help to others, it provides a path for Rotarians to become closer and build the bonds of friendship, and it directly impacts the community in ways that other service opportunities cannot. It brings us together.

Service for me is about connecting our community and building bonds with others, not out of a sense of pity but a genuine, heartfelt desire for inclusion – to demonstrate that we all belong, that we all are deserving of love and compassion, and we all are entitled to love and care in no matter what shape or form it comes.

Whether we are serving the homeless, reading to children at a local school, loading backpacks for underserved kids, cleaning up parks, or sponsoring our high school students in Interact and other projects, we bring a sense of love, care, and commitment to everything we do. We show others that they matter and that we are all the same.

Being of service is an act of love towards others and to ourselves; it completes us. Because what we give comes back to us in ways we never could have imagined.

Yours in service,

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