SERVE-ing Those in Need

Public Service: a service that is performed for the benefit of the public or its institutions. That’s what SERVE was all about. It highlighted the need for us, as professionals, to give back to the community that we live in. That’s exactly what Ad 2 Orlando has done.

Last year, a group of eight young professionals spent countless hours of their free time, sacrificing any hope at a social life, to give back in a huge way. We’re talking about a complete campaign valued at over $1.7 million. Not too shabby, if you ask me.

So what, exactly, was SERVE? It was a look at the past and a glimpse into the future, with a few jokes thrown in. Last year, The Center for Great Apes was chosen as the beneficiary for the public service campaign. We were shown nine months of hard work, crammed into a one-hour presentation. We heard stories about how Linus ,one of the featured apes, loves to sit in the rain after he was trapped in a cage for 10 years, how Marco and Butch became inseparable best friends, and how Mari has adapted to life without arms.

I think just about everyone in the room that night fought back the urge to cry at some point during the presentation – whether is was from hearing the stories of how these apes survived horrible living situations or from the thought of hearing Wayne crack one more cheesy joke. I won’t even mention the 97 times he referred to his co-chair as “Sexy Pete.”

The bottom line is that SERVE had a purpose: to open our eyes to the needs of others. We’ve all heard the excuses of why people don’t give back, usually it’s because they don’t have the time or the money. I’m no exception to this rule. Right now, Pet Rescue by Judy is in desperate need of help. (Can you tell by the web site?) This organization is helping those who can’t help themselves – pets who have been abandoned and abused. Seeing Judy tear up at the thought of complete strangers pulling together, to provide her with the help she needs, warmed my heart.

SERVE definitely served its purpose – it opened my eyes to the needs of others and showed me how I could help.  After all, I do love animals, so I signed up for the new volunteer initiative. It’s just a small way of giving back and, in return, gaining a cleverly designed T-shirt titled “glAD 2 help”.

Amber Bloom

New Ad 2 Orlando Member and Public Service Advocate