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Beyond the College Application This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


College. Isn’t that the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of community service and extracurriculars? That was what I thought when I was in ninth grade. I though that vast amount of community service and extracurriculars would boost my chance of getting into any university I apply to.

However, community service is more than that. It’s more than just for the sake of adding it to your college application. The Oxford Dictionary defines community service as unpaid work, intended to be of social use. You see, community service is not work we do for our sake, it’s work for others who need help. Community service is community service if we put dedication and interest in it. It needs our passion and perseverance. This will in turn aid others who are in need. In my school, a bunch of junior guys formed a soccer club that goes to a small local school to play with kids and make them happy. These guys used their interest and passion to create a club for others.

Recently, I formed a club at my school called The Health Awareness Club, because of my passion for health, biology and the overall wellness of our ­society. Over 40,000 million people in the world are affected with HIV and many are unaware that they are living with this virus. In my country of Ethiopia, many are ignorant of the health issues that could ­affect them which is devastating to me. People all around the world are dying simply because they are not educated about diseases and health risks.

Did you know that according to the U.N., a child dies every 15 seconds because of a water-borne disease? This is extreme! It is because of this that I formed my club. The sole purpose of my club is to raise awareness and teach students with little education from ages of 12 to 17 about ways to halt and take care of themselves when encountering a health issue. Currently the group and I are working in a school called Mekdela to educate these students.

Our first encounter with the kids was very nice. We introduced ourselves going around in a circle. The students were delighted that we were giving our time to teach them about health. Similarly, the principal and the administration were very welcoming and excited for our commitment to work with them. However, we have had a few problems. One was arranging when we could go to the school. We had to negotiate with the principal who agreed to keep her students later so we could come.

I’m really thankful I was able to establish this club because now I can teach many about health issues. Furthermore, I’m in the process of creating a Facebook page for the club. So I can internationalize it which in turn has a prospect of being helpful to any school or work place in the world. This will make our world a place where everyone is healthy and aware of health issues that have the potential of destroying them.

So, community service is more than just writing it on your college application. What matters mostly is your passion and dedication because if you have these, you can become a leader. It doesn’t matter if you like law or music or literature or science, you can still make a difference by following your passion, and this begins in school. So, follow your interest in creating a community service project because that can make a difference in our society.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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