Community Service: Why Give Back

Author: Attorney Douglas A. Barry 

I believe it is important to give back, and to be involved in community service. As the President of the Firm, I work to continue the long tradition of the Allen and Allen law firm in helping the community, both in terms of financial giving and volunteerism. As we approach our 100th anniversary, we look back with pride on the support the Allen Law Firm has given to the communities where we are. We continue to believe that we have a responsibility to help and support the communities where we live and work.

As a firm leader, I believe I must lead by example. I regularly give talks to police departments, fire departments, rescue squads and EMT groups. I feel it is important to reach out to and support these first responders who put service to the community above themselves as a career. For many of our clients, emergency medical personnel were the first people at the scene of their accidents, the first people to give them comfort, and the first people to give them help in their time of sudden need.

Each of our attorneys and many of our employees are involved in community organizations and community events. We routinely call on each other to support the organizations and causes that we are involved in. For instance, I've been involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization for a number of years. BBBS pairs at-risk youth with mentors to offer a positive influence in their lives. For many of these children, having a mentor can significantly impact the paths they take during critical years in their lives. Other Firm attorneys and staff regularly volunteer at BBBS fundraising events.

I've been involved in community service for so long that it's second nature to me. When I think of why it's important to be involved, I scarcely know where to begin to explain how I feel. The following are quotes from college students involved in community service. These quotes express many of my own feelings about why we have a responsibility to give back to our community, why it is important to do so, and the benefits we all receive from doing so. After all, none of us got where we are today without someone else helping us along the way. Where would we be if we didn't get that help? Where can we be if we all help someone else? Get involved today. You'll be glad you did.

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  • Community service is helping people, but also gaining an understanding about each other and a sense of human compassion.
  • Community service should be thought of as a two-way street. A better term might be "community opportunity," because this term accurately reflects the notion that community service provides opportunities for all participants, whether the beneficiary of the service, the provider of the service, or some third party, and thus it provides opportunities for the community as a whole.
  • Part of being a good citizen of a community is spending time in that community and aiding other members - lifting them up just as someone once did for you.
  • Community Service is important because it can put you in situations that you might not have been in before and enriches your life in this way. You may have questions going into a project and come out with more than you expected. Doing community service helps build bonds between those whom you are working with.
  • We may not be able to perfect the world in our lifetimes, but every effort we put forth counts.
  • Community Service serves as a reality check and an inspiration to continue bettering society.
  • Your environment limits your perspective. Community service expands it.
  • There are at least two benefits to doing community service. Clearly we can support each other with our efforts and initiatives; we can raise money for cancer research and we can make sure that hungry people are fed. Even still, the worst thing in the world is to feel alone. At least half of the support we do with community service is simply letting other people know that we're here and we care.
  • Community service brings out the best in us, inspires hope in each other, and empowers us to believe in a better future.
  • I believe that in order to thoroughly understand your community, you have to be involved in it.
  • Community service never feels like a responsibility to me, or an obligation. I love it. Never do I feel better about how I have spent my time than at the end of a day of service . Through reflecting on my service experiences, I gained intense awareness of myself, the privilege I experience, and the profound injustice lurking in the world.
  • Community Service is one way of putting your mark on the world and experiencing diversity to enhance your mind and spirit.
  • I have discovered my greatest strengths in serving others. I truly believe in investing yourself in the community that you live in through community service.
  • Community Service has taught me to be myself. When you are helping people or making a difference, there is no time to be self-conscious. Community service has also taught me that anything is possible
  • Community service has helped me to realize the contradictions that we live in. We say that everyone has the same opportunities and they really don't. [Through service] I see the effects of that.
  • I view community service primarily as an act of responsibility, and not merely an act of generosity.
  • I've learned that service is more than helping others. It's about being able to immerse yourself in the culture of the service and the people. That way you get a better grasp of the community and how you're a part of it, and in doing so, take pride in what you do. That's one of the biggest lessons I've learned so far.
  • Although community service has helped me to appreciate what I have, it has also taught me how happy people can be without things that I think of as necessities.
  • I am more patient because of community service. I appreciate what I have more of because of community service. I also appreciate hard work.
  • I think that service means compassion and love and reaching out to people that don't have as much as yourself.
  • The things I do and the people I meet through doing community service always challenge me to do more for my community.
  • Service, for me, is a way of showing gratitude for all those things that I do have, and at the same time trying to give others a better life.
  • Community service is important to me because I feel that helping others is almost necessary to your own well-being. To take the opportunity to do something selfless for someone else is priceless.
  • A large part of community service is giving part of yourself to other people and putting their larger needs in front of your smaller ones.
  • Community service has made me a better person. I am more willing to see other sides of a story, more aware of the great diversity in the world, and more willing to do more for people outside of my immediate community of friends and family.
  • Through community service I've met like-minded people who feel passionate about the same causes I do.
  • Community service is not something I do; it is a part of who I am.
  • Community service is recognizing the disparities in America and doing your best to help resolve them.
  • I find that I enjoy living life most when I feel that I am living not just for myself but for other people as well.
  • It is about changing attitudes about doing community service. You are not just doing something for somebody else. It is not a charity case. It is a service. And if you open yourself up to the experience, it's helping you just as much as it is helping them.
  • There is a certain kind of simplicity in life that you get from giving yourself to others.
  • Each time you can do some kind of service for someone, you have the opportunity to learn new ideas, discover new perspectives, and ultimately grow as an individual.

About the Author: Doug Barry is a Fredericksburg personal injury attorney and the president of the law firm of Allen and Allen.

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