In seventh grade, I became a SLOB – not literally, but by joining the Service League of Boys, an organization that enables boys at local schools to serve and help improve the communities of Mountain View and Los Altos.
Throughout my experience with the organization, I have come to view community service in a different light and have enjoyed working with other boys in my area. My initial exposure to SLOBs, and with service as a whole, began in a similar way to that of my classmates – I had a school requirement and was expected to fulfill it.
Originally it was another chore, another assignment to be checked off a list. But when one of my friends told me that he was joining a service group, I signed up as well. What I did not know was that this organization would change my view of both community and service.
Joining a service organization can be useful for those seeking to fulfill their obligatory volunteer hours. Monthly emails contain a plethora of local opportunities, which makes completing requirements easy. But I believe joining a service organization offers something more than that – one aspect that is sometimes forgotten is the importance of community.
SLOBs helped me meet new people and also work with friends who had already joined the organization. Interacting at events with students from other local schools helped me establish new relationships, and I bonded with like-minded people interested in service to the community.
In fact, SLOBs functions as a community itself – between ice cream socials and listening to inspirational speakers, the experience changed my entire perspective on service.
I have had many great experiences over my years of service with SLOBs. I especially enjoyed volunteering at the Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival with my mom, which acted as not only bonding time, but also service to my community. After a fun and entertaining weekend working at the information booth, we decided to volunteer again the year after.
I also highly enjoyed the Kids Read program at the Mountain View Public Library. At this activity, I would read to children or children would read to me, depending on their reading skill level. After a couple of weeks, I began to look forward to seeing the same faces again, and it was highly rewarding to see the kids improve their literacy skills.
One final experience I will never forget was my time at Hope Services in Mountain View, an organization aimed at assisting the developmentally disabled. During the weeks I volunteered at Hope Services, I made multiple friends – not only with fellow students, but also with the people I was assisting.
It was a great learning experience and provided me with a different perspective on the needs of the physically and mentally challenged.
These three service opportunities are just a sample of the experiences I have gained by joining SLOBs, and they have inspired me to aim to provide the same education to others.
This leads me to one final thing that’s great about SLOBs – the entire organization is student- and parent-run. That’s why last year I joined the board of SLOBs and am now serving as a vice president.
SLOBs has had a great impact on my life and my ability to help the community thus far, and I recommend joining a service group to any student trying to complete their hours, because community service can be and should be much more than fulfilling a requirement.
Boys in grades 7-12 interested in joining the MVLA SLOBs can visit mvlaslobs.org for more information.
Keshav Singh is a Town Crier intern and sophomore at Bellarmine College Preparatory.