Community service is often perceived to be synonymous with the selfless service of others. Although this definition is correct, the true definition of community service is the service of oneself. When one aids an individual in need, they satisfy a yearning within themselves. This yearning is not quantifiable, it is abstract. When one embarks on the journey of volunteerism, they may do so to seek something- whether it experiences for a resume or a requirement for graduation. However, as one progresses through the stages of volunteerism, it becomes oddly addictive. Addictive in the sense that the feeling of satisfaction acquired through continued volunteerism builds an insatiable desire for more. The ‘more’ aspect puts emphasis on quality over quantity because as one experiences various volunteer opportunities, he/she is able to narrow down the ones that serve themselves the most. This identification of self-service paves way for selfless service.
I embarked on a lifelong journey in volunteerism. Volunteering became a blank canvas, I could fill it however I pleased. I volunteered with various organizations, which helped in the identification of the causes that meant the most to me: environmental stewardship, aiding children, and aiding students. This year, I wanted to leave a legacy which reflected at least one of the three aforementioned causes. As a member of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Youth Council, I interviewed a pediatrician to contribute to our Stollery Trading Cards initiative. Patients will be able to learn about their doctor and personify them as opposed to perceiving them as only an individual that treats their sickness. As a Student Senator, I joined the Health and Wellness committee so I could equip students with the resources required to live a mentally healthy life. I also took the duty of Project Manager of the Helping Hampers campaign at W.P. Wagner which provided enough food and clothing resources for four families for one year.
My ambition to aid others has ultimately resulted in self-service which has propelled my potential to pursue selfless service to great heights.
During a trip to India with my mother, I was sickened. A feeling of intense anger had run through my body as I looked into the eyes of children who were malnourished and sick. There were kids in the streets whose parents had not a penny to spare for medical expenses as all of their savings had gone to providing food for their family. The look of despair in their eyes fostered a sense of responsibility within me. I had the power to eventually change their situation. And so I embarked on the journey of selfless service in order to expand the humanitarian mandate. I partnered with PEIF Fund to commence a food drive at the University of Alberta for unfortunate kids in the community. The project runs from February 26-March 13. There are currently two locations to drop off donations: the Psychology Office in P-217 Biological Sciences Building and the East Asian Studies Department 3–31 Pembina Hall between 8:30am-4pm. I am able to provide a donation box as per request and the proceeds will be donated to the Edmonton Food Bank.
One of several key projects for the Canada region is the Kids Food Basket Initiative (KFB). The KFB project offers sustainable solutions to the problem of child hunger in Canada. More than 850,000 individuals need food donations to survive in Canada and over 33% are children and youth. Out of these individuals, 79,000 were aided in Alberta in 2016, of which 39% were children. Hunger is a very pressing and immediate issue as it impacts more than four million Canadians daily.
The KFB Project is a multifaceted initiative comprising a food drive as well as several coordinated think tank events on campus that focus on supporting the nutrition of kids from poor homes in the Edmonton area through innovative and sustainable methods. Thus, a key component of the initiative is the food drive, which will be undertaken at the University of Alberta during the Winter 2018 term. The goal is to provide vulnerable kids in our city with nutritious food through a major food drive event while participants invest intellectually in more long-term and sustainable options for addressing child hunger. This project is inspired by the Helping Hampers Project that PEIF Fund Mentee and University of Alberta Psychology undergraduate, Loveleen Sidhu, implemented at her school in December 2016 in Edmonton.
About Loveleen Sidhu
Loveleen Sidhu is an English major at the University of Alberta. She is currently a member of the Stollery Youth Council and a mentee with the PEIF Fund charitable organization. Loveleen has previously served as Student Senator and Executive Secretary for Edmonton Public Schools. She is fluent in four languages including French, English, Punjabi, and Hindi. She is the recipient of a $4000 business grant from the ManCap Foundation which recognizes 6 youth across the province. She is also the holder of the Kinsmen Salute to Youth Award which recognizes approximately 25 students out of 98,914 students in the district for their leadership and volunteer service in both the community and school environment.