As I reflect back on the Women’s Federation for World Peace and the Washington, DC Metro Area Day of Service on October 20, 2016; I must say, participating in the set-up was fun. Although there were several ladies there, one stood out to me among the group: Minister Chi Mauuso.

Minister Chi is so dedicated to the Day of Service initiative that I cannot even start to express how much. When she mentioned the push brooms, shovels, rakes, and other items she was responsible for bring to the program, it never crossed my mind how many and how heavy the items would be. Now I know, after assisting her and others with packing the heavy items in a car after the program and ensuring their delivery back to her home. Knowing that Minister Chi had taken a very serious chance of falling, when taking each shovel, each push broom, and rake down a narrow flight of stairs to be picked up for delivery to the program site, I can see her dedication. However, what happened after each item was returned to the front of her home really moved my spirit. Each item had to go back up the flight of stairs. The safety concerns were frightening. Luckily, some workers assisted with taking the same items back up the narrow flight of stairs, which would have been very challenging for me. After mentioning the concern for her safety to Minister Chi, she just stated in an almost out of breath whisper, “Somebody has to do it.”

I cannot ignore the fact that the program offered the youth a great opportunity to appreciate Mother Earth. When it came to my part in the program, I asked the students “What is the first thing you do in the morning after you get out of bed?” Their answers varied: “Brush my teeth;” “wake my sister for school;” “comb my hair;” “take a shower;” “get dressed.”

I let them know that on that day, they would help Mother Earth wake up for the day by cleaning her off. For instance, I asked them, “What about all of the trash and dead leaves on her? She cannot breathe. What about her hair --the grass that may need combing and a haircut? What about her getting a drink of water?”

I asked them to think about the fact that when they would finish getting up all of the rubbish lying on Mother Earth, raking her hair, the grass, while massaging her scalp, the dirt; she would feel so much better. She will be groomed and be able to continue her productive life. She can grow her hair blades, breathe fresh air, and drink plenty of fresh water. In addition, Mother Earth will produce more foliage on the trees and grass to feed animals. Pretty flowers will blossom, and good juicy fruit and vegetables will be ready to eat.

However, taking care of Mother Earth is not all of what community service days provide the youth. Community service and service learning enhances:

  • Social Development - individual learning, increased interpersonal skills, and continued interest in future community participation;

  • Academic Development - service as a positive learning experience;

  • Personal Growth - increased self-esteem and confidence; and,

  • Career Development – the opportunity to develop special skills that support hiring advantage over others.

At the end of my talk I told the students: Remain sensitive to your present environment. Remain aware of community service needs. Bring someone else with you for the next Day of Service. One student said that he gets his sister up in the mornings to get dressed. I said, “The next time, bring her too!” As we show the students through our actions that we are willing to do what must be done to clean up the earth and the streets we live on, they will learn the lesson that Someone has to do it, and I am that someone!