Service Matters: Students Ignite Power of Giving Back

“Do nothing out of selfishness … Rather, humbly regard others
as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others.”
– Philippians 2:3-4

In an effort to help contribute to and connect with the true spirit of the Feast of St. Martin de Porres, students and staff rolled up their sleeves and spent three afternoons volunteering at five area nonprofits: the Northern Illinois Food Bank, Feed My Starving Children, Catholic Charities, Bernie’s Book Bank and the Father Graf Immigration Center during the first week of November.

With intensive academics, work obligations and other challenges facing students, the volunteerism offers them a welcome respite, but more importantly the opportunity to make meaningful connections and to participate in activities that enhance and benefit our community, said Jim Dippold, director of campus ministry for CRSM.

“The week is all about the students and staff being people for others,” said Dippold. “What happens is that after experiencing the volunteerism, more students show up to say they want to give back and sign up to become regular volunteers on a regular basis. But the best part is that they talk about how much they enjoy the experiences.”

The week-long celebration marks 11 consecutive years of focusing on service in tribute to the school’s patron saint. The week started with a Mass celebrated by
Bishop Rassas and Fr. Charlie Bolser.  Later in the week, all the staff and students spent three afternoons volunteering.

Although many schools around the country require students to devote a specific number of hours to a community service project, CRSM student’s volunteerism is exactly that, said Dippold. CRSM students raise their hands to donate their time by their own will, with no mandates, he added. Such service teaches students – and the staff who join them, to look beyond themselves and understand the role they can play in their community and country.

“Thanks to friends of CRSM for supporting our students in their formation as young men and women for others – compassionate, generous and committed to a faith that does justice and service and walking in the footsteps of Martin,” said Dippold.