The neighbor girl brought her new boyfriend home to meet her parents and they were horrified by his greasy hair, tattoos, dirty language, and air of hostility. As he left, the mother said, “Dear, he doesn’t seem like a very nice person.” And the daughter said, “Mother, if he wasn’t a nice person, why would he be doing 500 hours of community service?”
This past Saturday I addressed the statewide Fall Conference of the Sertoma Club at the Academy for the Deaf in Faribault. Sertoma stands for Service to Mankind. They sponsor a different type of community service: community projects to promote freedom and democracy, to assist youth with hearing loss, and a fill a variety of other local community needs.
The idea that a service organization promotes freedom and democracy is especially important to me. As a Civics teacher I promote civic responsibility with my students. We talk about the important qualities of a citizen essential in any democracy:
a responsible family member
Respects and obeys laws
Respects rights and property of others
loyal to the nation and proud of it
Uses natural resources wisely
Stays informed on important issues
Takes an active part in government
Believes in equal opportunity for all
respects individual differences and ways of life different from their own.
Takes part in and improves the life of their community
If there were more service organizations like Sertoma, there would be less of a need for the government to take up social issues of poverty, welfare, health and human service shortfalls.
The Sertomans also support hearing health and assist students with hearing loss by making their dream of an education a reality. They support advanced education to improve the lives of people with communicative disorders and support professionals through education grants so they may help those in need.
Local service clubs attract the very best of our citizens. Through clubs like the Lions, Jaycees, Rotary, Sertoma, and others, there are so many opportunities to better our communities and impact lives. Thanks for the Saturday, Sertoma! Thanks for believing in citizenship, and the ideals of democracy and freedom we cherish.