What do you think when you hear the words Community Service and Social Justice? To you, it may seem like a waste of time or that you’ve got more important things to do. However, we live in reality, where there are people who have struck luck and those who haven’t. Today many organisations are fighting the good fight, helping those in stressful situations whether they have lost loved ones, jobs and are potentially homeless. The condition in Australia is critical, we are regarded as one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but are we doing enough to help our citizens? In this speech, I will analyse a key organisation who are putting others before themselves.
Red Nose is an organisation that’s ‘saving little lives’, which strives to protect the birth of current and new generations. Following the death of her son, Glenn, Kaarene Noelle Fitzgerald set up the organisation ‘Sids and Kids’ in 1977. Specialising in child and infant deaths, Red Nose has grown from small volunteer groups into a vital organisation that supports bereaved families and educates individuals throughout Australia. Red Nose isn’t based upon religious beliefs. However, their core values remain similar to those referenced in the Catholic Social Teachings (CST) and Human Needs. The fourth Catholic Social Teaching, ‘Option for the poor and vulnerable’, is the philosophy expressed by Red Nose. This teaching conveys that we should consider how our vulnerable are progressing and instructs us “to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first”. Today this is vital as homeless, and refugee figures continue to rise.
Throughout my time volunteering with Red Nose, I witnessed what it felt like to be nourished, both literally and holistically. Like most of you, I don’t regularly go to Church, and so that feeling of accomplishment made this experience worth it. Even though I didn’t get to see who or what I was helping, the jobs I completed in my eyes were critical. My activities included collecting donations and cleaning the facility inside and out. The most challenging event was collecting donations; this is because gathering the confidence to ask people for something I already have was difficult. It would be unnatural to most of us at Villanova because we are far luckier than those in different situations. To us, it isn’t a measure of life or death, but for some it is.
Many biblical scriptures allow readers to create a correlation with society. A biblical scripture that illustrates the view of seeking justice leads to greater outcomes is Isaiah 1:17. This is inferred in the lines “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” This quote means that if we fight the good fight and stand up for the mistreated, we will change society for the better. A second quote is “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy,” (Proverbs 31:9). This quote ties into my community service with Red Nose as we are essentially helping those in rough circumstances; giving them warmth and family when their whole world is crashing down. Although this may seem far-fetched, have you ever lost a part of yourself?
The big question is; Have my actions made the world a better place? And the truth is only time will tell. My role throughout the community service was to bring awareness to a worthy organisation who are helping strangers as human beings should. In saying that, every little life we save, benefits not only the family of the child but also the whole community who have pitched in over the entire 40 years. At Red Nose, I learnt how to be a righteous Catholic follower and portrayed deeds such as helping the sick and vulnerable as referenced in both the Bible and Catholic Social Teachings.
In summary, when will we reach the point that enough is enough? For thousands of years, we have been told how to live life to the fullest, but still today we see greed and selfishness clouding our actions. All it takes is selfless individuals willing to be there for those who need it. We have now reached a point in time where we are responsible for how the future will look, what will it be chaos or sunshine?
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