A simple Oxford Dictionary definition states that community service is voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area. Community service has endless boundaries, from cleaning up garbage at the local park or helping to manage canned goods for the food pantry. Being a place of family, faith, compassion, and courage, the Prep has certainly embraced its community through service.
Community service is necessary and vital. Especially for us at The Prep, we have a role to play in our community. As a result, the service club at SHP has thrived with the support of eager students and confident leadership. Recently, I discussed the topic of service with current SHP Service Club leader Ronak Shetty ’22 (next year’s leader will be Gabriel Kovach ’23), who had many insights on community service.
To Ronak Shetty service is extremely important on a local level. Of course, making a global impact is vital, but serving our neighbors is just as crucial. The Prep’s location certainly embraces this ideal. Located in West Orange, The Prep is surrounded by homelessness and those in need of guidance and aid. As a result, the service club at school does its hardest to confront these issues in connection with organizations such as Rise Against Hunger. Ronak was then quick to identify the best ways to put smiles on faces through service opportunities. The primary idea is that through service, volunteers can participate in an activity or a cause that is meaningful to them. Ronak also believes that passion is important. Many participate in community service to gain service hours. However, those who strive to make their best impact use passion to elicit the most smiles. For example, Ronak founded his own tutoring organization Aprendalo, which started at the Prep and has now grown to the international level. The key to Ronak’s success: passion and dedication to his beliefs and interests.
Service can be practiced by anyone. The values that a volunteer gains from the service they are participating in depends on the activity. Nonetheless, Ronak is confident that compassion, or empathy, is a value that one gains from any participation. However, the biggest is a sense of solidarity. Participation in community service strengthens the idea of a brotherhood/sisterhood. At a Catholic school, under the teaching of Christ, we are called to aid those in need together. A volunteer can learn from their experiences in service, and carry those lessons gained to future leadership roles.
There are plenty of ongoing and upcoming service activities at The Prep. Opportunities range from Pirates Against Cancer, Environmental Club, working for Aprendalo, helping the disabled, and even making PB&J sandwiches for the local soup kitchen. For those who want to research more opportunities, or simply learn more about service at The Prep, Ronak advises to look under campus ministry (released every weekend in Prepnotes). In addition, those who yearn to volunteer should follow the SHP Service page on Instagram for upcoming events. So, get out there and use your passions to help those in need.