[Student Essay] How service truly starts- empathy, concern and passion
By Yejin Kim (Grade 8, Branksome Hall Asia)
“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” What an intense and inspirational quote!
I’ve always thought of service as an abstract concept that is hard to comprehend and put into action. However, it never was a complicated idea to carry out. I recently realized that service roots from empathy. Empathy is not a huge thing. We feel empathy almost everyday in our life and this is where true service starts.
As a student of Branksome Hall Asia, I was privileged to be part of CASE, each letter standing for creativity, activity, service, and enrichment. Participating in service activities was required, but it wasn’t a burden for me. I enjoyed service activities the most, ending up exceeding the service credit requirement for CASE.
After reading a brief introduction of different service activities, I got interested in the fact that I can use my skills to help someone out. I participated in five of them: ‘Creative Kindness’, ‘For Minority Poverty’, ‘Mandorong’, ‘Tangled’, and ‘Enabling the Future’.
In ‘Enabling the Future’, we created 3D printed arms and prosthetic hands and donated them to physically disabled people. Enabling the Future not only enabled the future for the disabled people but also myself. I developed new skills: learning how to 3D print objects and how to assemble segments. I was excited, feeling proud of myself for being of service to other people, not just for me. I learned that the complete true meaning and goal of service is amplified when I get to utilize my skills to help the underprivileged which all roots from empathy, empathy for all mankind to be able to use our hands.
Another memorable CASE was SWAP. In SWAP, we advocated for animal rights and protection of wild-life. The biggest reason I joined SWAP was because I am an animal lover who is passionate about animal protection and looks forward to combat animal problems more than anyone. I felt empathy for animals, especially stray dogs, looking starved and lonely. I knew much more about how dogs might feel isolated and deserted since I’ve raised two lovely dogs. I expected big service action as a part of the program, but it wasn’t. We made many posters demonstrating various ways of helping abandoned dogs. We also took care of dogs that were soon to be adopted. Moreover, we undertook a program that can be implemented in school such as fundraising money or products that will ultimately be donated for abandoned dogs. They were just small-scale projects but were strong and powerful. SWAP was full of animal lovers trying to shape a better world for animals. Among them, I was able to feel empathy and true love coming from each member working together towards a common goal. I learned that big changes start when small but strong thoughts and actions are taken.
Throughout the CASE programs offered by our school, I was able to utilize my passion, interest, and skills in service of the world around me. Empathy was my motivation to be involved in service. I was genuinely concerned with physically disabled people, abandoned dogs, and this was what moved me forward towards service. At times, empathy often stays in our hearts, feeling sorry for those people in difficulty. However, I learned that empathy is something that can also be expressed and even have an impact on people around me when we are dedicated to taking action. The service activities in Branksome Hall Asia has allowed me to do so and share my warm thoughts to the public. Empathy, rooted from sincere concern and interest was the key to service and was what made small actions shine and brighten the world.