Meet needs in your own backyard

By Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter

It’s time to get out of your bubble.

It can be easy, as a student, to stick to what is comfortable and go about your daily routine. If you take a look around, much of what you see in your day-to-day life may look familiar. As great as being content can feel, there is an entire world happening around you. It is important to take a step outside of the familiarity that you are used to and view the world through the eyes of those who do not live the same type of life that you do.

Need is all around you. There are nonprofit organizations that you pass by every day in need of those who will restore hope in the lives of individuals in your community.

A few years ago, I became involved in an outreach program with Face Time with God, a student-led ministry on campus. Each week, we gathered together and made breakfast tacos for those in a homeless shelter downtown, as well as anyone else in need of a breakfast meal.

I met one individual and I heard about his life story, his hobbies and his family that he dearly misses. Our conversations were always so meaningful, and I’ll never forget one particular conversation I had with him.

“What do you feel many people don’t understand about you?” I asked.

I’ll never forget his response.

“I just wish people would understand that I’m a person too — just like them,” he said. “They stare when they walk by. They laugh. I’m still human.”

I have had a sensitive spot in my heart for urban outreach and service from a very young age. The stories that I have heard and the souls that I have met spark so much inside of me that I can’t help but share. What would our world look like if we took care of our neighbors?

I would encourage everyone to find a way to serve their community. Maybe you are academically-gifted and enjoy working with children. Find a local elementary or middle school in need of after school tutors or mentors. Maybe you are looking for somewhere to invest your time in a meaningful way. Sign up to deliver meals to those who cannot drive themselves.

There are countless ways that you can get involved in your own community and impact a life in need. Here are a few local nonprofit organizations in the Waco area.

The Cove seeks to give youth experiencing homelessness a safe place to thrive.

Jesus Said Love offers programs addressing both the supply and demand sides of the commercial sex industry.

Friends for Life helps the elderly and people with disabilities live independently as long as possible, protects and cares for those who are unable to care for themselves and brings generations together to enrich lives.

The Waco Family Abuse Center exists to eliminate domestic violence in Central Texas by sheltering victims of domestic violence and preventing abuse from occurring through intervention and education.

These are just a few of the many opportunities in Waco to serve. Whatever your passion or skill set may be, there is a place for you to help change the life of someone who needs it the most.

Look around. Don’t neglect the needs that exist in your own backyard.