The four websites have one goal in common, to demonstrate the true meaning of community-engagement service and aid as perceived by the world. Ivan and Radiaid.com focus on the negative effects of community-service. Ivan argues that community-service by Americans has had a negative influence on the Mexican people because the ideology of non-sufferance is sold. Hence Mexicans struggle to emulate the American lifestyle. Likewise, Radiaid.com notes that volunteers unknowingly stereotype communities as helpless and passive to their audiences when sharing community-service experiences. Therefore, they infringe on the given community’s right to privacy and undermine the community’s values.
In contrast, Aurora Santiago-Ortiz and “H.O.P.E was here” concentrate on the positive aspects of community service. For instance, the act of service enables volunteers to gain insights into a community’s way of life. “H.O.P.E was here” gives both positive and negative aspects of volunteer-acts and leaves an individual to critically assess his/her intentions for volunteering. Similarly, Aurora Santiago-Ortiz uses the faults of traditional approach of community-service to suggest practices that can change the colonizing-effect these aids have on communities engaged in service-learning. While all four websites idealized community-service from different angles, they reveal how damaging the act of service can be to a community if one does not respect and uphold the cultural values of the community involved. Thus it is critical for a volunteer to know both the merits and demerits of volunteer-acts before embarking on one.
I agree with the rebuttal that community-service has distorted the images of communities. Radiaid.com presents a strong argument not to blame volunteers but rather equip them on ways to promote cultural values of given communities. The website acknowledges that most volunteers are ignorant of the real effect their work has on the community they intend to serve. Instead of intended-good, the perception of the community to the outside world is distorted. The website then goes further to give four ways to uphold privacy and respect the rights of communities when sharing community-service experiences. On the other hand, the argument by Ivan does not sit well with me. Ivan intended to pass a feeling of distaste on the consequences of community-service but the reader gets a strong feeling of blame on students engaged in service-learning. The meaning of the message is hidden behind provocative words making it difficult to understand the message. The website does not give any recommendations to assist in correcting the traditional approach of service-learning.
While most people view volunteer acts as good intentions, these websites reveal there are negative effects as well. Therefore learning about a community’s cultural values is necessary for service-learning.