Community Service: a Non-Textbook Lesson

May 12, 2011
By Jamie Blake BRONZE, Buckhannon, West Virginia
Jamie Blake BRONZE, Buckhannon, West Virginia
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Webster’s Dictionary defines community service as work that is beneficial to the community. However, to those participating in the community service, the service is much more. Throughout my high school career, I have participated in over 500 hours of community service. As president of Hi-Y, a service organization at the high school and an active Girl Scout, I have learned various lessons throughout my service to the community. These lessons include: leadership, character, and organization skills.
Foremost, I learned great lessons in leadership while participating in community service. It is the leader’s responsibility to direct a group to various activities. A leader also knows how to delegate authority to get the job done. A leader also knows how to take credit for any wrong doing by the group. if there is a fault in the plans or in an activity, it is the leaders responsibility to make a change or take the fault for the problem. But above all, a leader is a role model. The actions of the groups greatly revolve around what the leader of the group is doing. I have learned that leadership skills are something that comes naturally to me and I plan to continue, throughout the rest of my schooling and life, to give back to the community by teaching these valuable skills to other generations.
Second, another important skill I have acquired over the years in community service activities is character. There is a famous expression, “Character is what you see when no one else is looking,” is appropriate. In community service, giving up would be easy, because there is no pay. However, it is sound character that keeps me motivated to accomplish various community service tasks. Participating in community service throughout high school has built a strong, moral character for me. Character is something that is greatly lacking in today’s society. However, I have learned what it is to do something for others and how good that makes me feel, whether pay be involved or not.
Finally, perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned through community service is organization skills. Recently, I organized an Alzheimer’s Research fundraiser, which raised a fair amount of money. It was important to stay organized and hold a effective event. Organization is vastly underappreciated as skill in community service. It is the organizer that makes the event happen, as well as the volunteers, but they wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for the organizers. This is a valuable skill that I have learned throughout my years.
In conclusion, it is only though experience that one learns. I would not deprive anyone of great community service activities as well as a great learning experience. Leadership, a valuable skill is important for delegating authority to get the job done, as well as, taking the fall if anything happens. Character can only be learned through experience of participating in the activity. Finally and perhaps the most important lesson is organization skills, for nothing runs without these skills. I would not take away any of the lessons that I have learned through all these community service activities, nor would I take the experience from anyone else.

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