At Red Mountain Sedona (RMS), we have found that service work helps our students to get a bigger picture perspective on their lives and problems. Service work helps you realize the interconnectedness of all people, cultivates gratitude, creates selflessness, combats narcissism, and brings you more fully into the moment.
For these reasons, one of the most important behaviors we teach our students is to be of service to others and their community. Living a service-based life not only benefits those you are serving, but will also bring numerous benefits to yourself.
Helping others in particular diminishes egocentrism and selfishness, two character traits that contribute to behavioral issues, depression, and poor choices. Studies have shown that when two people forge a relationship based on overcoming challenges, both of them grow stronger. So the one serving is therefore also served by the act of service.
Service develops selflessness, or egolessness. While the ego, or the self, is an important part of our personality, if we become narcissistic or self-absorbed, we will never enjoy freedom or peace. Through acts of service, our students learn how good it feels to let go of the “small self” and petty, self-obsessed ways of thinking. Through serving others, our students heal themselves.
Red Mountain Sedona Service Trips to Guatemala:
Two of Red Mountain’s core values, Compassion and Growth, are manifested in our international service trips, which take place quarterly. Red Mountain partners with Cultiva International for service trips to Guatemala, providing an amazing opportunity for our students to gain international experience, broaden their horizons, and learn the joy of service.
Guatemala’s population suffers from the fourth-highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. To combat this health crisis, Cultiva creates sustainable nutrition and health by teaching rural Guatemalan villagers how to cultivate their own vegetable garden.
Villagers first practice at Cultiva’s training centers, learning how to garden in a classroom-like facility. When they’re ready, they partner with Cultiva’s volunteers to build garden boxes at their own home. Over time, these garden boxes overflow, providing sustainable nutrition not only for the owner of the box, but their neighbors as well.
During week-long service trips, Red Mountain staff and students immerse themselves in the Guatemalan culture, balancing culture, fun and service. On return trips, students get to see the fruit of their labors, as the garden boxes they built on the last trip have flourished during the time between trips.
Please visit https://cultivainternational.org/ to learn more about this life-changing program.
Participating in community service is a great way for the residents of RMS to become involved in their community, get “out of their heads,” practice selflessness and improve self-esteem. There are many opportunities for students to serve the Sedona community, including the Humane Society, the Sedona Fire District, the Sedona Marathon, daycare centers, churches, homeless shelters, and retirement homes.
Our students have reported feeling better about themselves, forgetting their own problems, and even discovering a higher sense of purpose as a result of their community service. This activity also offers a wonderful opportunity for them to work together as a team, which builds morale in itself. We have seen some powerful friendships develop between our students that began when they joined together to serve others.
Our engagement in community service is just another way in which the RMS model goes beyond traditional treatment modalities, treats the whole person, and sets our students up for future success.