It was the shrill ringing of my pager that jarred me out of the deep sleep I had been enjoying. The clock beside my bed read 3:30 as I fumbled around in the dark, reaching for the insistent pager. As I saw the code that flashed on its tiny screen, my heart sank. I thought of the sleet that had been falling as I had fallen asleep a few hours before, and of the warmth of my cozy bed. The very last thing I wanted to do at that moment was to get up and go out in the cold. Unfortunately, there was little choice; I was the only Crisis Companion available during the week between Christmas and New Year. Within a few minutes, I was dressed and en route to the hospital to pick up a woman and her small children, on the run from an abusive husband, and take them to our shelter several miles out of town. As both a hotline operator and Crisis Companion for a community organization called Avalon, I had been trained to be an active listener, crisis counselor, and advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. I thought of all the training I had received, as well as the passion which had driven and encouraged my work with Avalon, as I neared the emergency room of the hospital and prepared to meet my newest clients.
Every 15 seconds a woman is battered. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men will be sexually assaulted during their lifetimes. 4 women in the United States are killed every day by their husbands or male partners. When I first heard these statistics in a Women’s Studies course my Freshman year, I was astounded and thoroughly incensed. The more I read, the more committed I became to doing something which would bring about a positive change for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. It was then that I learned about and began working with Avalon, which was active on campus and in the community. Through its outreach programs, Avalon is dedicated to educating the community about the issues of sexual assault and domestic violence. It also offers a shelter, as well as advocacy and education, to survivors and their families.
Most of the time of a student is wasted in idle gossip, in roaming and in fruitless work. It is better to utilise the power of youth in socially productive work than to squander our precious time in loitering at the market place or before theatre hall.
If a student utilizes his time fruitfully and in socially useful work he gets contentment. Contentment is his satisfaction with his position. Students should remember that they are born for the improvement of the society by instilling the spirit of service in them. They can help the mankind in the best possible way.
If a student does not have the will or spirit to work he cannot succeed in life. We elevate our life style by doing well to the society. Social service is a voluntary work and one cannot be compelled to do a work. Social service fulfills two conditions. It helps one to utilise the leisure hours and the society gets benefited by it.
The value of social service should be taught to students to create inspiration in them. They should be enthused to pay their utmost strength and service to the society to make their existence meaningful.
Students should be taught how to serve the people of their country. They may teach reading, writing and arithmetic to the vast majority of illiterate Indians. They may render service to the members of the society in their time of need. They may relieve the suffering of the masses by nursing the sick.
Spreading education is no mean service. They can make the illiterate masses aware of their rights and duties. Once zeal is created amongst the students illiteracy may be wiped out. The Government cannot fulfill the ambitions of the vast mass of people.
Hence the students can guide the people in the right direction whether it is a question of digging canals or constructing educational institutions. Sympathy and fellow feeling should be imparted the students to do some noble works for the people.
People of our country are not aware of how to keep the atmosphere hygienic. People can be taught by students how to lead a life of cleanliness and how to keep their lives free from diseases.
Students can co-operate with people on matters of public interest such as education, sanitation, trade and commerce. Students can participate in cleaning drains, ponds during the leisure hours. They can help people during natural calamities such as earth quake, flood, drought, cyclone by collecting funds from different sources.
Students have a spirit to work but the guardians and, teacher should guide them in the right way. Social service can be safely managed if they can be guided properly. Our leaders should guide them in the right way.
As a volunteer for Avalon I have answered a crisis hotline, acted as a court advocate, helped clients apply for food stamps, and been on call in the hospital to work with women and children. While it would be flippant to say that I have enjoyed my work with Avalon, I have been profoundly affected by the women and children I have met through the organization. Working with Avalon has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. It is wonderful to see a woman that I have worked with, filled with pride when she finds a job and realizes that she is capable of supporting her family. It is indescribably uplifting to connect with a shy, withdrawn child in the shelter and see her smile as I read her a story. The work is seldom easy; the hours are often unpredictable and inconvenient, and the dedication required is sometimes overwhelming. But the rewards are extraordinary.