Some Brockton Service Corps Member at Houghton's Pond in Milton
Surgeon-scientist Dr. Joseph Murray once stated, “Service to society is the rent we pay for living on this planet.” This is a concept my housemates and I have discussed, and I imagine it is one that can resonate with anyone participating in service immersion programs. For myself, one of the main reasons I pursued this year of service was to use the privileges with which I grew up in order to give back to the community. I, along with my housemates, have been blessed with various advantages
and it is our turn to use these in order to serve those who may not have similar privileges. Now that we are just over one month into our program, it is becoming increasingly important to reflect on our privileges and motivations as we each scurry to fulfill our various personal and work obligations.
So, I used the term “scurry” for a particular purpose. We recently discovered that our house is now home to a few mice. It started with one sighting, and it quickly has evolved into a handful of sightings throughout our house. Not to worry, though, as an exterminator has come to the house and our additional housemates should vacate soon. Nevertheless, I cannot help but to notice a bit of a comparison between the mice scurrying about our house and each of us scurrying about our lives these past few weeks.
I already mentioned that we are just over one month into our program, and with that comes the beginning of a new phase of our service experience. During our orientation, we learned about “The Emotional Stages of a Service Experience”, put forth by the Catholic Volunteer Network volunteers and program directors, which are intended to be guidelines to explain the various feelings we will be encountering as we progress forward. For the first one or two months, it is the “Initial Fervor” stage, where everybody is enthusiastic and eager for the upcoming year. Following that, it is the “Survival Phase”, where the initial excitement has worn off and feelings of frustration may begin to develop. Included in this stage are feelings of disillusionment toward our placement sites and a new awareness of areas of growth within us.
I believe our community has begun to experience this stage, now that we have settled into our placement sites and our lives outside of work. We all remain enthusiastic for the year ahead and enjoy our sites, however, it has become evident that we are a bit more tired after our work day/week is over. We each have begun to encounter various challenges at work; some were temporary while some are ongoing. Outside of work challenges, we have started to know the struggle of maintaining a work/life balance. Some days it is difficult to leave work challenges at work, and it is not always easy to make and maintain plans with friends outside of the house. Lately, it feels as if we have been scurrying around in our own lives in order to best fulfill our work obligations while maintaining our personal ones as well. With that, it has not always been easy to focus on our core values and the reasons that brought us to this program in the first place.
Last Sunday, September 21st, many of us attended the People’s Climate March in New York City. Over 400,000 passionate individuals and environmental activists gathered for what was the largest march for climate change awareness in history. We greeted Stonehill students and professors on campus at 6:15 AM, and the bus to New York City left by 6:30 AM, not to return until nearly 11:00 PM, with a four-hour ride each way. It was a long day, but most certainly a worthwhile one. Participating in this passionate event along side thousands of people demanding to be heard invigorated each of us, for while we each may not have been previously invested in issues surrounding climate change, there is something to be said about being surrounded by so many individuals fighting for justice, which is something each of us does in our own way daily.
A snapshot of the People's Climate March
We each feel passionate about the city and population of Brockton and we go to work every day fighting for it. Whether its ensuring every child has access to education, every voter feels heard, every family has access to nutritious food, or that no one sleeps without a bed, we fight for this city and all of its people every day. Yes, we may feel tired at the end of each day and we may face different challenges in our individual battles, but let’s face it, nobody said this would be an easy year. It will, however, be a worthwhile one, and whether we can notice it now or not, we are making differences, no matter how small.
Some Brockton Service Corps Members at the People's Climate March
P.S.--The title references the song, “Hurry, Hurry” by Air Traffic Controller. The link to the music video can be accessed here: