Should community service be mandated for students?


Brian Yuss

Foothill Community Service Organizer Linda Kapala. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press
Foothill Community Service Organizer Linda Kapala. Credit: Aysen Tan/The Foothill Dragon Press

When I began high school, I remember being told that I would have to do community service, and I asked myself, “Why do I have to do that? Why do I have to give up my spare time when I would rather get my homework done or hang out with my friends?”

Then I started volunteering at different organizations such as Project Understanding, Cornucopia Gardens, and River Haven. I realized that it is important to help other people as well as my community as a whole because then everybody benefits.

Being involved with River Haven has broadened my perspective on homelessness in our society and our need to reach out to the less fortunate. Project Understanding brings awareness to the community by providing projects such as tutoring elementary school kids and improving buildings that are in need of repair. Another part of my community service was spent at the Cornucopia Gardens assisting the less physically able bodied in taking care of their gardens.

I think that community service should be mandated because it helps students build character such as empathy and compassion for other people. 

Community service has increased my awareness of socioeconomics and has prompted my motivation toward improved academics at school. It has helped me stay motivated to work hard and achieve the goals that I need to succeed in life.

In addition to bringing insight for me, it helps other students realize their civic duties, brings a greater understanding of society around them, and builds on practical experiences that exist in the real world.

When people start reaching out and helping others, it brings a better sense of how connected we are and how important it is to help others who are less fortunate. As a student, my time is valuable, but I am realizing that through helping others I am actually helping myself and broadening my understanding of what is really important in life.

If you are thinking that community service is a drag, get out and make a difference. It may change your life. 

What do you think?