During the drive to Temple from his home in Brooklyn, Robert Baugh never fails to be struck by the stark contrast between Main Campus and the surrounding community.
So Robert, a dedicated community service volunteer throughout his high school years, decided to continue his service during his time at Temple to further bridge the university and North Philadelphia – and to become part of the community.
“I’m from New York, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help make your neighborhood a better place while I’m here,” he said.
Through several organizations, including the Temple University Community Service Association, the Student Peace Alliance and the Society for Human Resource Management, Robert has participated – and encouraged his fellow students to join – in countless community service efforts.
He helped local kids paint a building at the Penrose Recreation Center on 12th Street and Susquehanna Avenue then joined them in a game of pick-up basketball. He fed those in need on Thanksgiving at Chosen 300 Ministries on Girard Avenue. Now, he’s working in the human resources and volunteer department at the American Red Cross in Philadelphia as an administrative assistant.
For Robert, community service is about more than simply connecting with and serving the community.
“It’s getting people to understand what they can do,” he said. “Community service can be anything you’re really passionate about.”
His first experience with service happened when he was still in his single digits. Smiling brightly, he vividly recalled being at a soup kitchen and feeling inspired watching volunteers serve food.
One man he served at a soup kitchen while doing summer work for New York’s Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corp. made a particularly profound impression on Robert. The man, like many of those he served there, was eager to tell his story – he was working hard to get by, trying to make ends meet through odd jobs and finishing school, and he would stop by the soup kitchen for a hot meal when he couldn’t afford one.
“He had a lot of ambition,” Robert recalled. “He didn’t let his situation get him down. He had a lot of great things going for him. He was eating at a soup kitchen, but people wouldn’t know it.”
Robert makes it a point to stress to his peers at Temple that they can make an impact through even just a few hours of community service. It means more than helping people, he said.
“My arms and legs have burned from doing community service work,” he said. “But right after, you think, ‘Wow, I did something great and changed lives.’ It’s worth doing.”
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