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Going into high school I believed that I was going to become more involved through school spirit and helping the community by joining multiple clubs; however, this wasn’t the case when I participated in multiple extracurriculars and Advance Placement courses. Although I have been absent in regards to participating in the community, I still understand and appreciate the importance of community service. Community Service through high school has been a major facet towards success and the development of a good character. Often times there are correlations between involvement within the community, and even success in college. Many people like me in high school do not participate in clubs that help our community, therefore people question the structure and ideology of community service, wanting it to be mandatory for all high school students. A mandated community service system for high school students will only crush the purpose of it, and essentially force young individuals into mandatory labor and demoralize students from community service.
The sole intention of community service in our current generation is to volunteer on our own will and help the community because we want to. Reforming our school system and mandating community service would only alter the way we look at it and defeat the purpose of it. In Document 5, Authors Arthur Stukas, Mark Snyder, and Gil Clary elaborate the influence of Mandatory Volunteerism and the effects of enforcing a mandated system. “Two studies suggest that community service requirements can have negative effects on students; intentions to volunteer freely.” Essentially, the authors argue that community service requirements will only create a bad image of it for high school students. The purpose of community service is to show your leadership as an individual and to express your passion to helping the community and those in need. This is why the value of community service is set so high for individuals who spend their time to help the community. When a mandated system is implemented, there is no value of it because people are forced to help the community. There is no way to distinguish between who wants to help, and who is forced to help. Therefore the community service and volunteerism will devalue and deteriorate in quality. Many would argue that the reason for community service is to help the community and it is not about the benefits from doing so. Our current generation and society has sculpted the way we look at community service because of the importance of universities. Due to the gridlock in academic success throughout the nation, universities look at the involvement in clubs, and dedication for helping your community, a way to show your leadership as an individual. If we were to mandate community service for all high school students, this would just be another gridlock, making it harder for universities to choose between students. Most importantly, also reducing the amount of participation for community because the value of it has decreased.
By implementing reforms and making community service mandatory, not only does it devalue community service, but will also prevent students from wanting to help our community. When we as individuals volunteer and help on our free will, it makes it more special and encourages us to continue. However, being forced into something will only make us want to quit and dislike it. The same psychological principle applies to community service as well. In Document 7, author Mark Lopez analyzed the effects of requiring community service and the attitudes towards this cause. More than 60% of students are unfavorable with the idea of requiring community service. Since high school students are aged 15-17, if they have an unfavorable attitude towards community service, they will not try their best. With a bad experience of community service in the beginning, they will only be demoralized from serving the community in the future. Instead of creating a mandated community service system, we should just keep the system the way it is and let students have exposure to community service through their own efforts. There are many reasons on why people cannot participate in community service, so we should respect their decisions and not force it upon them. If requirements for community service were to be enacted, this will only cause people to fight against the system and neglect community service. The main reason why people have proposed the idea for mandating community service is because many individuals have no exposure to it. Although some high school students would be grateful that they have experienced the joy in helping the community, the loss in value for community service overrides the value in helping students gain experience. If community service were to become mandatory, high school students won’t experience the joy and satisfaction of helping their community because they are forced to do it, instead of wanting to do it. This will only increase the amount of students who despise community service because it is mandatory, but also because they have no emotional rewards from accomplishing such tasks. The best way to prolong the ideology of community service is to make it optional instead of mandating it.
By creating a mandatory community service system, it would defeat the purpose of community service and also demoralize individuals from wanting to participate in helping the community. Furthermore, if we make community service mandatory, this is essentially a form of mandatory labor. If we create requirements for community service, the ideology of community service would date back to the mid-1900s. Instead of gaining the satisfaction from helping our nation, we would be forced to work for the government for free. In Document 1, authors Neil Howe and William Strauss write,” Boomers had eliminated mandatory civic duty for their later cohorts and the generation to follow.” This is an example of how we have gone past the idea of “mandatory labor” through the social terms of “community service”. Instead of progressing and evolving as a society, we will eliminate the purpose of community service and force millions of high school students in helping the community. This is not only similar to the previous example of community service in the 1940s, but also ruins the vast majority of opportunities for the unemployed. If our community requires volunteer work, instead of forcing millions of high school students to accomplish the task, we should create jobs out of these requirements for those who are unemployed. This will help a lot of citizens who are in need of a job and proper financial support. On the other hand, we wouldn’t defeat the purpose of community service neither would we demoralize high school students from wanting to participate in community service. By mandating community service, we would also be supporting child labor. High school students will work for free with no benefits for either their transcripts or even their mental perception of community service.
In the end, mandating community service is definitely not a good thing for our society and generation. By requiring high school students to participate in community service, we will crush the sole purpose of community service and also lose the satisfaction from it. Students will also be demoralized from helping the community due to the negativity it brings just because it is mandatory. If the intention of community service is diminished, and high school students despise community service, we would essentially create a system that forces high school students to work for the government and community with no economic or social reward. Even though high school students like me are too busy to find time for community service, it is still best that we keep it optional instead of making it mandatory.
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