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The Benefits of Volunteering for Both Students and Communities

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Students may not enjoy working in a soup kitchen or picking up trash on the weekends, but when these students finish their required volunteer hours, they will have picked up more than just trash and a resume builder. Through volunteering, they learn good communication and leadership skills while also improving themselves and their communities. A requirement of service hours for high school graduation helps students develop good work habits, builds their college resume, improves their communities, and it’s also good for their health and well-being.

According to research provided by Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Maryland, “all community service action, whether it be direct or indirect, encourages career preparation and reflection.” Some parents argue that their children are too busy and over-scheduled already. However, kids who volunteer learn how to better manage their time. Doing charitable work enables kids to realize how much they can accomplish in limited time while making a difference in their communities and with local non-profits and businesses. According to a survey by Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, 92% of human resource executives agree that contributing to a nonprofit can improve an employee’s leadership skills, and 80 percent of respondents said that active volunteers move more easily into leadership roles. Since most teenagers have a great deal of energy, they should put it to good use and support their community. Establishing leadership skills will assist students in high school and later in college and careers. It may help them discover new skills and find a new passion or future career. When students volunteer they begin to make connections with community leaders and business owners that may help them later with internships or in their profession. For example, volunteering can be a great and effective way to get training in areas of interest such as Project Management- organizing events or fundraising and Sales Skills- contacting people for donations or recruiting volunteers.

Some parents in low-income areas might argue that the kids time should be spent getting a real job that pays. However, a student with a history of volunteering may have a better chance of earning scholarships and getting into their desired school. Volunteering looks great on a school application because it demonstrates involvement and selflessness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey also stated that: “92 percent of respondents are more likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience, and 85 percent of respondents are willing to overlook other résumé flaws when a candidate includes volunteer work on a résumé” which means that volunteering may not only assist with getting a job, it may also help you to develop your career.

When students volunteer, they are helping the community but also helping themselves. Volunteering promotes communication with different types of people, sharpening social skills. For a person to succeed in life, these skills are essential because it enables them to work cooperatively with others and interact efficiently. It is necessary to learn to express ideas and thoughts without difficulty. Skills for problem-solving are also obtained, which can later be applied to one’s professional life. For the person and individuals around the student, these abilities can be useful. If students use the skills they have learned from volunteering, they may be able to solve the financial problems of today.

Another idea that protestors use is that high school students will see doing volunteering and community service as a punishment and therefore get nothing out of it instead of seeing the good in it. But once students get through all their hours-or even the first time- they will see just how impactful volunteering can be. In an interview with Anne Sutton, Senior Outreach Manager at the JDRF, she says that all the volunteers that have come in and worked have all been very happy with the environment and have stayed for much longer than the “average Joe”(Sutton).

Volunteering is often done for selfless reasons, but does it benefit the volunteer personally in any way? Several pieces of research have been carried out by organizations that say volunteer work can improve your health. The research shows physical and mental health benefits when people volunteer their time and money to help others. One research at the University of Ghent indicated: Volunteers are as healthy as 5 years younger non-volunteers and Volunteering activities on one’s record yield higher employment opportunities.

Some parents argue their kids are stressed because they may not have enough time to complete their schoolwork. But research has shown that volunteering can help strengthen your body, improve your mood, and lessen stress. These findings are not only for healthy people. After what is known as volunteer treatment, even individuals with severe diseases reported enhanced health. The best thing is that volunteers not only take better care of themselves, but they also help those who need it desperately. Completing service hours helps improve your self-esteem too. There are many examples that show children with behavior issues have shown great improvements due in part to volunteering and helping the community. Community service and volunteering can help a person learn good work habits and practices that they can build on throughout their life. Furthermore, participating in volunteer activities helps one develop good self-esteem and self-confidence. There are many other personal benefits too including a sense of purpose, achievement, and belonging.

‘Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop,’ said Dr. Dorothy Height, president, and CEO of the National Council of Negro Women. What Height says is simply true, and it needs to start in our schooling system. Positive social interactions are crucial to good development, and high school students need these experiences to grow and become healthy adults who leaders in their communities. In the ‘real world’ that we teens hear so often about, the many lessons learned through service is just as essential to our futures as the ‘A’s’ on our calculus and history tests. Making community service a requirement to graduation guarantees that students spend at least a minimum amount of time giving back to others in their community. If at least one-third of these students were able to understand the significance of community service, then they could take the benefits and apply it not only to their professional life but also to their community’s overall well-being. If the lessons they learn from volunteering were used by these same students, they could solve many of today’s economic and social issues. We not only ensure healthy and educated people but also a better financial and social climate by requiring students to do community service in high school.

In conclusion, student volunteer contributions more than offset the negative of requiring students to volunteer for graduation. Community service should indeed be required due to the recipient’s beneficial impacts. Whether they help to clean a park, tutor, or just accompany a senior citizen, the end findings are generally positive and uplifting. Most non-profit organizations rely on volunteers to remain afloat and adding a student surplus will assist their cause further. With the students helping it increases their overall self-esteem and health by helping others and having an enjoyable time. Students would also notice a significantly easier time going through college with the help of volunteering expanding their horizon. Lastly, the huge impact students would leave on the community would be very inspiring and would stick with them for the rest of their lives. If the school doesn’t require volunteering, go out and volunteer anyways, because you are going to feel much better about yourself.

Works Cited

  1. Sutton, Anne. Personal Interview. 10 July. 2019.
  2. Fraga, Juli. “Helping Strangers May Help Teens’ Self-Esteem.” NPR, NPR, 13 Jan. 2018, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/01/13/577463475/helping-strangers-may-help-teens-self-esteem. Accessed 20 July 2019.
  3. Burger, Eric. “Helping Organizations.” VolunteerHub, www.volunteerhub.com/. Accessed 21 July 2019.
  4. “Should School Have Community Service?” The Premier Online Debate Website | Debate.org, www.debate.org/. Accessed 21 July 2019.
  5. Gazette, Kalamazoo. “Should High School Students Be Forced to Volunteer? (Our Turn Column).” Mlive.com, Mlive.com, 13 Aug. 2011, www.mlive.com/opinion/kalamazoo/2011/08/should_high_school_students_be.html. Accessed 22 July 2019.
  6. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Volunteering in the United States, 2015,” released February 25, 2016.
  7. Gupta, Simrin, and Claire Koenig. “Pro/Con: Should Student Service Learning Hours Be Mandatory for High School Graduation?” Silver Chips, Silver Chips Online, 10 Mar. 2011, silverchips.mbhs.edu/content/procon-should-student-service-learning- hours-be-mandatory-for-high-school-graduation-28198/. Accessed 23 July 2019

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