I spent the day doing research into social service organizations and charities, especially local ones (a while back I reached out to a local service org to do social media for them, and it looks like that ball might finally start rollin’), and I end the day amazed and awed at the wide range of resources and services offered to ppl, even just within our small community. All these ppl, working hard to selflessly provide others with support, with funds, with manual labor…it just blows my mind.
Until recently, community service has been a rather foreign concept to my mind. I was raised in a community of very insular immigrants who prided themselves on living separate from the rest of society. My parents’ religion was focused more on individual piety rather than on charity and good work and love to one’s neighbors. But upon coming to UM School of Info, I gradually got sucked into this idea of one’s community, of participating in it, and giving to it what I got from it. You see, SI is big on “connecting people, information and technology” (it’s part of their motto), and basically, all classes repeat the same lesson: we are all connected to each other, information does not exist independently of its medium, technology is only useful if it provides connections (whether between information and people or between people and people). Everything is part of a network, every single thing is connected to something else (huh, I never realized that SI had a religious/spiritual doctrine until now, in this context).
And so, while I was learning about communities, connections and networks, I gradually realized my own need for community and the importance of the communities around me. And there was kindled within me the desire to participate within these communities and to provide a little of myself to others, to give something of the very privileged education that I received, the practical skills that I have learned and the love and compassion that I was raised to feel.
I am not doing this entirely selflessly, I’ll admit. By giving, I receive support and human connection from the ppl I work with and for. And in a world where I feel increasingly alone, separated from my family, losing friends as they move across the country, that sense of connection is priceless.