Admittedly, I didn’t engage in my first service project selflessly. I felt pushed into it like many other Millennials. Look at the scholarships available. Most of them require active involvement in service. Want to be competitive and well-rounded on your college and graduate school applications? Throw in some community service experience. Leadership positions in the name of service are an even greater bonus. The heart of helping others has been replaced by an intangible desire to look “good” and the materialistic wants of fulfilling requirements for scholarships and admittance into schools and organizations.
Without realizing it, I was helping others to invest in myself- to invest in my future because that was what it seemed was required of me. I only first fell in love with service when I saw what difference I could truly make. Quite a few years ago, I “adopted” a family with over twelve children and granted them their Christmas wish lists. The gifts had to be hand delivered and so, a group of my friends and I hauled ourselves over to this home. We had piles of bags filled with colorfully wrapped gifts for the family. It was truly a life changing moment seeing each child receive their own mountain of gifts. I remember one child specifically crying out with delight. He ran to his siblings, parents, my friends and me, bubbling over with happiness and gratitude.
It took being more hands-on in service to change my worldview, and I see the same effect echoed on my friends. The concept of service is perceived with a sense of detachment until the one moment when you can see that what you’re doing has a real purpose. It makes a difference, no matter how small it may seem. Once I saw this little boy, I was filled with passion. It’s easy to say, “I don’t have time for service” or to just do it for some other end goal, but once you take a more hands-on, face-to-face approach, you can see your ability to leave behind an impact as a single individual.
— Samantha Trieu, a PiP Millennial Team Member
P.S. Click here to read Killian Flanagan’s (another Millennial) perspective on philanthropy today.