By Amanda Marks, service corps member serving in Los Angeles
I’ve always seen the world as a canvas — not blank, but already ripe and wrought with art just waiting to be seen, admired, and listened to. Around every corner is a story to be found, even something as simple as a little red cup or a door left open a crack. So, when the Repair the World Service Corps introduced me to an organization called Arts For LA, I could immediately tell that it was a perfect match. Arts For LA not only gave me opportunities to work for a cause that I truly believed in, but offered to aid me in my own journey of writing, learning, and creativity. They invited me into their ranks with open arms, and I could not have asked for anything better. Arts For LA gave me the opportunity to look both into the world and myself as a lover of creative arts. Every moment I spend volunteering with them feels right, like I am helping them to help people not only on a national scale, but individually.
But that’s not where this starts.
Judaism has always been a prominent part of my life. Maybe not in the ‘Shabbat dinner every Friday, synagogue on Saturday’ type of way, but there nonetheless. Whenever I got sick, my grandmother would cook me the most delicious matzo ball soup, fondly known as Bubbe Soup. I learned to treat everyone with respect and kindness and to celebrate the world in all of its glory. One of the most poignant ideals of Judaism that I learned and continue to learn about every day is the importance of a mitzvah; doing the right thing for the pure fact that you are doing the right thing. That is how I was led to the Service Corps.
Several people had mentioned Repair the World, sending me their volunteer page and urging me to sign up. A quick read through about the organization immediately sealed the deal. In the midst of a pandemic, connecting with people who share similar ideals and mindsets was not easy. Most days I spent alone, curled up and separated from the world. It was easy to feel isolated, and easier to get used to that feeling. Somehow, that was what became normal, and I knew I was not the only person to feel that way.
While the first cohort meeting was online, joining the Zoom felt almost like I was stepping outside and into the sun. Here they were; people who could understand me, who wanted to do the same things as I did, people who shared a culture. Every single person I met through the program was kind, welcoming, and warm. From my local Los Angeles cohorts who made my time working as a corps member truly unforgettable to the cohorts spread far and wide who made every moment truly feel connected, I found a community that I could feel at home with. Both they and Arts For LA gave me the chance to truly make a difference and find myself in a way I did not know I could, and it is not an experience I would trade for the world.
In the end, I recommend Repair the World to anyone and everyone. It is not only fulfilling, but it opens doors no one could ever expect. From connecting a person to their city, their culture, and people of like minds and similar interests to becoming a part of something that truly, really, and completely matters, it is something bright and brilliant that can change a life for the better. I hope that everyone who comes across this work takes a moment (pun not intended) to join and connect themself to what really counts.