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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Required volunteering overlooks purpose of community service

    By Jaclyn Quan
    Staff Writer

    Imagine students giving up their weekend, which could be used to complete assignments and destress, because their school requires them to pick up trash at their local park. For some high schools, students are required to complete a specific number of community service hours before graduating. Although volunteering serves as a way for students to form closer bonds with their communities and is a beneficial addition to their college resumes, Gabrielino High School should maintain its current graduation prerequisites and not impose a community service requirement on its students .

    One of the most valuable lessons an individual can take from community services is knowing that they made a positive impact on their community. However, students would not be able to understand this unique aspect if they are forced to volunteer.
    According to Walter Payton from the Chicago Tribune, mandatory volunteering “promotes short-term, drop-in [participation] more than genuine involvement in social issues.”
    In other words, the services become more of an assignment rather than an activity that is done out of goodwill.
    “I think it is [unfair] to force students to volunteer simply because it will look good for [their school or on their college applications],” stated senior Tiffany Co.
    For the majority of students, high school is already a stressful time as they are constantly juggling their course-loads with other extracurriculars such as sports and clubs. For individuals who are heavily invested in athletics or a certain club, it will be difficult for them to obtain service hours due to a lack of free time.
    If volunteering becomes a graduation requirement, students who attend services may be uninvested in the cause.
    “Community service is about giving back to your community,” stated The Prospect. “But efforts to train volunteers and work with volunteers are futile if they are not dedicated to the mission.”
    In addition, mandatory volunteering will impose an academic barrier on low-income students. Many of these individuals need to work to financially support themselves or are unable to afford transportation to complete volunteer services.
    Although students will become more engaged in community services with mandatory volunteering, it does not necessarily mean they will apply their experiences to their futures. According to a survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics, only 33 percent of all students who came from schools that required them to volunteer continued to do so in the future.
    Instead of requiring students to complete community service in order to graduate, schools should focus more on encouraging their students to volunteer and provide them the necessary resources to do so. Most importantly, schools should not have mandatory volunteering as a graduation requirement.
    Rather, graduation should be determined by academic standing whereas volunteering should be considered as an extracurricular that students are passionate about.

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    Required volunteering overlooks purpose of community service