Community Service: It’s more than just a requirement

Juliet Suess

By Jessa Glassman ’20 and Jordan Murray ’20

The definition of community service is “voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area.” Over time, this definition has become less and less true because the way we think about community service is evolving. The purpose of community service has transformed from being selfless for the sake of it to being charitable to enhance a college application or fulfill a requirement. People no longer attend charitable events, fundraisers or go help out at organizations. Of those who do help out at a non-profit, it is mostly because they have a requirement or want to seem more giving on their college applications. Community service has gone from something people do on their own merit to help those in need to blindly donating to a cause without taking the time to think about the cause it strives to help.
Community service should be about giving back and helping people in need. Many people only take part in community service organizations to benefit themselves, but they are missing out on the real importance of charitable work. The reason people should be involved in community service should not be to benefit themselves, but it should be because people want to give back to the community and because of a genuine interest in helping out. Partaking in community service should be a true act of selflessness and everyone should strive to make it a goal to give back. This is very applicable to our school community because in most instances we are detached from issues others in our surrounding neighborhoods face. Given our privilege and knowledge, it is our duty to help others. There are so many people in need of aid just around the corner.
At school, some students host fundraisers where they sell donuts, ice cream or other treats to raise money. There are also many drives that benefit children in the area. While these events definitely help the community, they might be less valuable than the donation of time. When students just sign their name on a sheet to buy a sweet treat with their parents’ money, they may not leave feeling as impacted as if they were involving in person with a charity. It is important that we experience what it is like to help in a hands on fashion, rather than just giving money and receiving a reward. This will not only help us more, but also those we are reaching out to. Interaction with other people who have the ability to touch hearts and create lasting memories can be much more valuable than money. Even if students aren’t interacting directly with those in need, sorting clothes or food or doing physical work for organizations can be more impactful and also offers an important lesson. The community service requirement gives students the push that they need to enter the charitable world. It also opens our minds up to thinking about what we can do to help and shows us how other people live and just how fortunate we really are.
In conclusion, community service should not be used to make applications look better and should be more than just about donating money. Everyone needs to realize that it important to use some of their free time to give back to their community. Our school offers students a variety of opportunities to volunteer in after school trips to schools and weekend events where each student has the chance to lend helping hand. It is crucial that not just we, but children everywhere, begin getting involved now so that we can kickstart a generation full of people ready to give back.