Community Service is Good
Community service is a two-way street. Volunteering can benefit students and his or her family, as much as the cause. Personnel growth can be enhanced when a person learns about new things, and volunteering teaches responsibility. I hear too many people with opinions about why community service should not be mandatory for students. Although there may be some reasonable concerns in regard to mandatory community service, every student should participate in some form of community service. First, community service can improve a student’s social awareness. If not for community service, some students might not understand the needs of others. According to www.helpguide.org, volunteering does enhance social awareness (Joanna Saisan and Melinda Smith). For instance, Tina, my neighbor, was upset when her mother told her how they were both going to volunteer at Solutions for Change, a homeless transitional shelter in a dangerous neighborhood. Tina thought homeless people were stinky losers and beggars to fear. However, during Tina’s community service, Tina met Sarah, a homeless mother, and Kim, her homeless teen daughter. Tina tutored Kim in math, and the two girls became close friends. Tina learned many things about Kim and her mother, who were severely abused by Kim’s dad; eventually, the two abused victims left the house permanently. Later, Sarah’s financial hardships caused Kim and herself to become homeless. Tina’s heart was deeply touched. Tina also learned how mental illness and cancer can cause a family’s homelessness. Tina, with her new awareness, never walked by a homeless person on the street again with a judgmental attitude. Tina’s mother was thrilled.
However, some people may argue that community service, that is meant to expand social awareness, forces students in new environments that are dangerous, which exposes students to unnecessary risks. Putting a student in a new environment can allow for some uncertainties, but with most community service projects, a teacher, parent, or volunteer coordinator, monitors the community service to make sure the student is properly accountable and supervised; students would not be forced to work somewhere unsafe.
Second, community service can impact the pursuit of a future career. Community service can allow the students the ability to volunteer in areas he or she knows nothing about. According to www.kidshealth.org, community service can help young people decide on his or her future careers (Steven Dowshon, MD). To illustrate, Tina, the girl who volunteered with her mother at a homeless shelter, discovered a new career direction. While working at the homeless shelter as part of her community service, Tina was amazed when she saw the development of Solution for Change. She saw the organization build a very nice building complex, which included thirty-two apartments, that would permanently house the homeless. This building complex was built with the financial donations of others. Tina wanted to know how the funding was possible. She obtained her answers when Tina and her mother became friends with Chris, the president of the shelter. Tina was inspired when she learned about the business behind the operation of the shelter. Until her community service hours, Tina did not know grant writers exist. Her new awareness sparked an interest for her to want a career in nonprofit business. After Tina earned a bachelor’s degree in business, she found work as a director at a nonprofit organization. Tina is most proud of the many awards she has won for her non profit grant writing abilities. Tina’s career path was discovered while volunteering for community service.
Yet, some people believe, if not forced to attend community service, students would have more time to pursue known, personal interest for future careers. Sure, students might have more time to pursue their known interest; however, students, who are allowed to pursue their involvement in activities based only on their known interest, are looking at his or her personal interest using tunnel vision. However, a student can greatly limit their options of personal interest if the student does not know the wide scope of undiscovered interest that exist. Community service should not be called a distraction from his or her own personal interest because it can be a broadening of personal interest.
Third, community service can teach the important lesson to give back to society. Completing a job to the best of one’s abilities, and feeling the rewards, can encourage a person to want to give throughout his or her lifetime. As case in point, when Tina was first asked to work at the homeless shelter, she thought community service was about being forced into free labor. She now will tell people the rewards from giving are bigger than the contributions given. Sometimes Tina feels guilty for having such a good life; she feels it is her responsibility, as a citizen, to give back to society. Every year since Tina’s forced community service hours, Tina develops and oversees projects to help a variety of non profit causes. Her passion to give inspires her friends, family and coworkers; many people come aboard to help with her mission. I once worked on a project with Tina in which she involved three hundred volunteers. The spirit of giving passionately beats throughout Tins’s heart; she could feel fulfilled if her life did not involve giving.
Nevertheless, some people believe mandatory community service takes away from the meaning of wanting to give back; the project loses value. Maybe this statement is true with a limited amount of people; however, most people are well natured with warm hearts. Although, at 4 first, mandatory community service might encourage some resentments, the unexpected rewards that might follow can change his or her attitude about the values of giving. Once a person experiences the benefits of helping a cause, it might be hard not to desire more of the same rewards.
Although people may have some valuable concerns regarding community service, a person who volunteers has the ability to make the world a better place for themselves and others. Every student should put in volunteer hours during his or her school years.
Saisan, Joanna, and Melinda Smith. ”Volunteering and its Suprising Benefits.” May 2013. Web. 10 July 2013 http://www.helpguide.org/life/volunteer_opportunities_benefits_volunteering.htm
Dowshen, Steven. “A Family’s Guide to Getting Involved.” The Nemours Foundation, 1995-2013. Web. http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/volunteer.html