Student Forums
A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

What is Community Service: Rachel Hale ’16 at Lighthouse

What is community service? If you look in the dictionary it is classified as a noun; nonetheless, if you look outside into the world of the communities who are being served you will see a verb, an action being carried out with great impact and heart from those organizing it. Lighthouse is a community service organization whose goal is similar to its name. It is a beacon of hope whose goal is to provide a safe, caring and family-oriented environment that allows community growth to its members and needed assistance to families, especially to struggling families, in the surrounding community. As a staff employee, and unpaid volunteer, my role at Lighthouse is to work with children and youth using art and music to advance their cultural understanding. In addition I also work to provide Lighthouse with a dynamic digital design program that helps them be even more effective in the community. Working at Lighthouse requires a lot of energy and time. There are a million tasks to get done every week and not as much time as I thought to achieve them.

Despite all this, Lighthouse is also a fun and engaging place to work that continues to challenge my skill set and abilities. Lighthouse, as stated before, is a community service organization; they work to bring the community closer together though providing basic needs, arts, music and social and cultural events. It is a place of community and community growth where people of all ages gather and learn and grow together; in addition Lighthouse meets the needs of community, something for which has been part of my goals in life and in education. For the past 5 years I have worked at various organizations that pursue the goal of meeting needs in the community and Lighthouse is an excellent example of what a community service organization can really do in making a difference.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well”. I believe strongly that Lighthouse is an organization which could serve as an example of what Emerson was trying to rely in this quote. Lighthouse is a place which aims to encourage and care about its members and the surrounding community. Love is a guiding principle of Lighthouse, love for others is its key cornerstone. This love for others is best expressed through action and through honest and heartfelt work in the community and for the community.

One of the most important actions of love expressed by Lighthouse is its weekly food pantry. A staff member of Lighthouse had this to say about it, “Lighthouse wished to support people in need in our community, so we formed the Lighthouse Christian Center Food Pantry in the spring of 2011. Each month, volunteers function well over 250 hours so that we can assist 500 families, providing them love, hope, and food. The Food Pantry has assisted over 42,000 people since it was launched, and the families of the Lighthouse who are providing food is rising”. This recent article in the Riverside community highlights the impact of food banks in helping struggling families. As a staff employee at Lighthouse my role is to help this particular outreach and others make as big of an impact as possible; in this case through a website redesign project.

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