Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

"Community" Service

Community service. Volunteerism. Activism. Outreach.

All of these terms have one thing in common - helping others. Whether it's through tutoring, cleaning up a local park, or raising money to help fund cancer research, community service plays a role in every high school student's life. However, this is not necessarily just because of our inborn goodness or sense of humanity. For many teens nationwide, community service is just an obligation they need to fulfill.

Think about it. How many groups or programs ask for our community service hours? Many high schools require a minimum amount of community service to get a diploma. Confirmation and other religious education groups also have standards. National Honors Society and other student groups will deny admittance to students with poor community service records. Potential employers ask us about our volunteer work, too, and there's always that college application hanging over our heads.

I've always thought that community service was something we do to help other people. And then in eighth grade, it happened. The guidance counselor came into our homeroom to talk to us about volunteering. She said we should get involved as much as possible to wow admissions officers at colleges.

Community service kind of changed after that. Suddenly, it wasn't about people, it was about schools and titles and organizations. I'm ashamed to say that I have thought, at least a few times, "This is going to look so great on my college application!"

That thinking stops now. For me, at least. I'm going to try to make community service back into what it used to be. What it NEEDS to be - helping other people, plain and simple. Stop and think honestly for a moment. When you volunteer for community service, are you really volunteering to serve the community? Or are you just serving yourself? Let's stand together and make a change - not in the things we do, but in why we do them.



Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

EvetteT said...
Dec. 30, 2013 at 4:13 pm
  It's a shame that community service has a different meaning to high school students in our society. I agree with you, that notion needs to be changed. Good job, keep writing!!!
 
Site Feedback