Volunteering for the service vs. on the surface

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Before reading this article, view this video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbqA6o8_WC0

Though this video could be interpreted in a negative attitude toward giving to Africa, one could also view it as a wake up call on why we give to charity and more meaningful ways to do so.

Many believe that being involved in a community service project is more beneficial and heartfelt than just giving money. Yet, teens have all sorts of motives for service trips: to earn hours for college apps, to receive 100 likes on a profile picture with a child of another skin color, to travel abroad, or maybe even to genuinely help others and better themselves.

As it is difficult to scout out the best program to participate in when trying to defy the stereotypes of a teen service trip, Mountain View High School has fortunately brought the solution to you. ODFL (One Dollar For Life) is an organization founded by a Los Altos High School teacher with the mission to build and support what a community needs in other parts of the world. Money is raised by schools all over the country, but only MVLA District students have worked hands-on with this project.

The process of this program begins with high school students donating simply one dollar in their classrooms. Volunteers furthermore raise  their own money for living and travelling expenses, and then they implement the original donations to go to critical things communities need.

“We are building a pre-school this year, and mostly everything we do [deals]with education,” said Meghan Philp, the ODFL president at Mountain View.

Not only do high school students benefit the community, but this student organization immerses itself within the visited area.

“A lot of people are in need of help so we want to assist, while getting to know them and learning their culture,” Philp said.

If one donates money to a cause, despite his/her intentions, it accomplishes the same goal. However, to engage in a service trip like ODFL, the quality of the work one completes, the relationships made, and the self improvement, comes down to one’s intentions.

Teens bring home a transformed outlook on the world by widening horizons from this program.

“It’s our goal to reach out to as many people we can that could use our help, but it’s to change the people here too,” said Philp.

Although the “Let’s Save Africa Gone Wrong” video does make a valid point that the charity people do for Africa is often stereotypical and insincere, there is a way to help others with good intentions and a reliable system by partnering with our local One Dollar For Life club.

Samantha Rubinstein
As a sophomore, Samantha particiaptes in a myraid of activities. From dance to cross country to volunteering at her Hebrew school, she stays active while giving back to the community.
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