Connotations Surrounding Community Service Slowly Changing

Students get ahead and open new doors of opportunity by serving their community.

Students get ahead and open new doors of opportunity by serving their community.

At one time, community service was thought of as a punishment, intended to provide a second chance for juvenile offenders who hadn’t gone so far as to require actual jail time.  This left the sentiment of completing community service as a punishment, or as something sought after by the “bad kids.”  However, over the last decade, the connotations surrounding the term have shifted greatly.  The Sun Sentinel completed an article to chronicle the change and contemplate the reasoning behind it.

Today, it is no longer common practice for merely the delinquents of juvenile society to engage in a bit of community service.  Three main reasons are behind introducing volunteering to the avenue of the “good kids.”  First, some schools now require community service to graduate or as a stipulation to receive a scholarship.  The article references several specific schools in the Florida public school system that has such requirements, which are most commonly seen amongst the International Baccalaureate and National Honor Students stipulations.  Often, for both of these prestigious enrollments, regular volunteering is required to hold membership.

Second, some students find community service gives them an edge amongst the steep competitive college market.  College admissions officers have begun acknowledging that a willingness to volunteer one’s time and effort shows an altruistic nature that appeals to the boards that decide a student’s collegiate education future.  Finally, the “good kids” are far more likely to simply enjoy helping those in need.  Tight communities, such as churches, often provide students with regular opportunities to meet people who have not been nearly as lucky as they have been.  If church doesn’t present a viable option, school counselors often advise students to stick to their hobbies when choosing where to give time; volunteering will be far more enjoyable when it is a task the student genuinely enjoys or feels passionate about.  Proactively, branching out in volunteering can allow students to test drive a chosen career path before they are too heavily invested.

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