Community service, voluntary work that is intended to help those in a particular area, is optional labor that has a positive, lasting effect on the participants as well as the society. As with any extracurricular activity, community service requires lots of time and energy spent on a particular task. Consequently, many scholars have debated the effect of mandatory volunteer service hours on students in high schools across the nation. Because community service is supposed to be an optional work, schools should not make it mandatory because in doing so, they take away the volunteerism that enables students to acquire life skills and knowledge, as well as provide a service to those who need it most. In addition, mandatory volunteering gives students added stress, and the idea that volunteering is the only way to help their communities because they face time constraints, and a single point of view when given additional mandatory work.
To start, those in opposition of mandatory community service express the belief that community service isn’t a subject that should be forced upon students. True volunteering lies in an individual’s will and drives to help others and enforcing it eliminates that drive. When students are required to participate in community service projects to graduate, some students may not gain social or personal benefits from the program and may find the experience less than fulfilling simply because they were required to do it. These undedicated workers often only fulfill the volunteer position as a result of the boost it gives a college resume or the requirements assigned to them by their school. Sure, they get the social experiences of travel and lifelong memories of those they spent their time with, but in the end, these students’ life-changing experiences may not truly be why they tagged along. “Leave they do, after little as a week of helping to repair some village’s crumbling school or library, to return to their comfortable homes and quite possibly write a college-application essay about how transformed they are” (Bruni 169). To them, volunteering is just a pertinent opportunity that is there to help give them the boost they need to reach the next step in life. As a result, the people they leave behind forever are only distant memories, seen as a way to fulfill everyday school requirements, instead of people visited because they were in need.
Furthermore, by implementing mandatory community service, students are burdened with yet an extra criteria to meet in order to graduate. As a result of the overbearing projects forced upon high schoolers, students obtain more things to shuffle, and correspondingly, would acquire less sleep in order to make more time for additional extracurricular activities. Therefore, the only thing mandatory volunteer work accomplishes is adding stress and giving long nights to students already deprived of sleep.
Moreover, schools should not force students to do volunteer work in order to graduate because it presents the idea that volunteering is the only way that high schoolers can support their community. “Volunteer requirements give students the idea that the more time students put into something, the more they are helping their communities. It gives students a mindset of quantity over quality” (Lou 171).
Community service has a constructive, and enduring effect on its participants and society because it is a volunteer work intended to help the people of a particular community. Just like any nonscholastic activity, community service requires lots of time, energy, and commitment for those who chose to participate. As a result, many teachers and other educators have argued whether forcing such an activity onto students is a principled idea. Since volunteer work is supposed to be optional, academies should avoid making it binding because by doing so, they create a time crunch for students, leading them to take low-effort volunteer opportunities instead of giving service to those who need it most. In doing this, schools give students added stress and the point of view that volunteer work is the only way that students are able to attain the goals of their community. All things considered, community service is without a doubt a learning experience, however, the choice to partake in such an experience should be up to the student. Just as sports aren’t for everyone, volunteer work isn’t for everyone. It’s up to more than just the high school student to change the world, which can be achieved through activities other than community service.
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