The world of community service opened wide today in Earl Hall, where student group Community Impact held an open house in an attempt to rope in volunteers.  Bwogger Tony Gong reports.

Presenting yourself at community service group fairs can be tricky. Ideally, you should display a certain level of enthusiasm. But how eager can you appear about visiting senior citizens before people start thinking that you’re kind of weird? I could just imagine:

“Why does he love old people so much?”

“What does he have against the children?”

“Oh, he’s thinking about volunteering for them too?”

“Shit, this kid is doubly messed up.”

The first group I surveyed was the Asian Youth Program, which seemed to be clearly directed towards me, an eighteen-year-old Chinese American who has shaved approximately three times in his life, once with the help of his mom.

“Your hands are cold,” was the first thing a student mentor told me, as I greeted her with a handshake. Yikes.

I couldn’t understand why she was in charge of a group for “developing one-to-one relationships” with kids and activities “to build self-confidence.” Needless to say, my self-confidence plummeted, and my heart became as cold as my hands.

Columbia Kids, by its title, sounded just right for me too. And really, it was: “If parks, The National History Museum, Chuck E. Cheese, the movies, the children’s museum, and ice skating sound like fun to you,” (yup, especially Chuck E. Cheese) “then we would love to have you join us!” I jotted my name and e-mail address as quickly as I could, which, because of my cold hands, was pretty slow.

But then, I saw the group next to it. “Harlem Restoration Project (HRP): weekend field trips throughout NYC for Harlem children, aged 5-12. Saturday, daytime, 5 hours/week.”

Something clicked, and my eyes darted back to Columbia Kids: “Field trips for children ages 5-12…5 hours a week, on Saturdays.”

What were they playing at?! It was all the same thing! Feeling duped, dejected, and not as, but still pretty excited about Chuck E. Cheese, I scuffled out of the auditorium and tried to imagine a happier time in the future, when I would be mature enough to endure the lies of the Community Impact Open House and my mom would let me shave without her supervision.