As part of my Ethics and Corporate Service Responsibility (CSR) course, we are required to render at least six hours of Service Learning Activity (SLA). Our group agreed on a book drive for the children attending J12 Kids Service at Doulos for Christ (DFC) Center. The participants are children of DFC members who are attending the Saturday service and children from their outreach communities.
J12 Kids reminds me of the Awesome Kids Ministry of The Light of Jesus Family (LOJ). LOJ is a charismatic community with a vision of spreading God’s Word all over the world. It holds a weekly prayer meeting called The FEAST with a tag line of “One of the happiest places on earth!” It has a life ministry for senior citizens called Graceful Living, for the couples, single, youth and for the children. The ministry for children is called Awesome Kids Ministry (AKM). AKM is held simultaneous with the FEAST and all teaching is aligned to the talks given at the FEAST. The idea is so that the parent and the children will have the same “take home” message and they can talk and share about their learning’s for the week.
Volunteering to serve at AKM is wonderful, but it is a big responsibility. A servant not only helps mold minds, but also tries to touch their hearts and soul. In addition, there is a moral responsibility to instill what is right grounded on Catholic teaching. So the servants’ has to be careful with what they say and how they interact with the children. Before every service, the servants are required to have read the lesson plan sent and made supplementary reading on their own. However, more than the knowledge, it is also important that the servant has a SERVANT’s heart.
A servant’s heart is something I can’t explain except to say that it is a “selfless servanthood.” It is to serve with the pure intention of serving, not for the fun of it, for grandeur, for recognition, for power or personal advancement. It is simply, purely SERVICE with a heart. It is a service that asks what I can do, not minding if it requires time, money and other resources. In the end, after giving all, there is inner joy and fulfillment for the servant.
If J12 and AKM require selfless servanthood, I believe that the same is required for any CSR initiatives. To have a CSR activity for the sake of compliance to regulations or take advantage of tax and other incentives has missed the point of “service” and becomes more of self-serving. To organize a CSR initiative as a Public Relation (PR) event is an exploitation of the community being served. To have a CSR activities initiated by employees, misses the point of it being a CORPORATE responsibility thus should be led by management. To practice CSR as philanthropy may not be sustainable and encourage dependence on the corporation. So what does it take to convert CSR into true servanthood?
CSR has to evolve from merely an added activity of the company to be part of the company’s business model. It has to be reflected in the mission and vision of the company, to the way they do business and earn their revenue. It considers the way they treat their employees, the product they produce and the impact of their existence to the community and environment they belong. There is also a CSR model that made solving social problem as a business model – meet Messy Bessy Cleaners Inc.
Messy Bessy Cleaners Inc. produces a line of organic household and personal care products that is good for the environment. Their social mission is to transform lives by hiring at-risk young adults and send them to school. They have a tie-up with Manila Business College for the working student’s program. According to the founder Kristina “Krie” Reyes-Lopez, they designed a “Helping Ourselves program, which consists of academics, work ethics such as a tracking chart for their attendance, values formation and work tutoring.” They do this by “giving them allowance so they can study. If they don’t maintain a certain level of performance in school and work, they are kicked out.” This business model clearly meets the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet. However, more than that, for me this is also a selfless servanthood in action.