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The Student News Site of Louisa County High School

The Lion's Roar

The Student News Site of Louisa County High School

The Lion's Roar

Doing community service for the right reasons

Joss Jones
A presentation created on Canva to showcase different ways people can get involved with community service.

“Colleges look at how involved you are with your community,” they insist.

“Get involved in your community,” they say.

“Community service will look great on your resume,” they claim.

People often promote community service among high school students, yet students don’t understand the true benefits of serving their community. This correlation often encourages students to equate community service with overall success. In the long run, this steers students toward volunteering in order to advance in life rather than doing community service to grow as a person or benefit their community. Helping the community can be favorable in more ways than one, so students should do community service with intention and genuineness. Success will follow. 

Serving the community is more than a success factor. Community service provides an outlet. It aids in taking a break from technology that provides no true substance. Unplugging from electronic devices and becoming involved is more beneficial than most people understand. Giving back to one’s community can increase the amount of hands-on interaction which can be advantageous physically and mentally.

Juniors Kaili Baker and Ayreana Baskerville on the bus to go volunteer at the animal shelter. (Joss Jones)

“Doing community service just helps me get away from my phone and get a better mindset,” sophomore Lilith Zaleski said. “It can benefit me and others by just staying away from devices and putting the mind somewhere else.”

Serving one’s community provides an opportunity to take a deeper look into the area. The environment can be seen beyond the houses, roads, and trees. People can become more comfortable with the place in which they live or have grown up.

“For me, community service provides a way to learn more about the community,” junior Ayreana Baskerville said. 

People opt to give time to their community for selfless reasons. Doing things such as keeping the community clean benefits the community as a whole. If there is minimal litter in the community, creatures in the surrounding area will be less likely to be harmed by eating harmful materials. And if the community is tidy, then events such as parades or fairs that are held locally can be more enjoyable.

“Since this is where I live, I want it to be in a good condition so more activities can happen,” Zaleski said.

It can be agreed upon that a percentage of people do have ulterior motives for completing community service. Individuals do it because they want to be portrayed as the good guys. Others may participate because they are required to so that they may remain a part of certain programs such as sports teams.

“Some just do it to look good,” Zaleski said. “There always going to be a percentage, big or small, that do it because they are told that they should.”

Returning back to the idea of a correlation between future success and community service, people view community service as a window of opportunity.

A lot of people see it as a means to an end,” Baskerville said. “Especially when it comes to college.”

Junior Ayreana Baskerville happy as can be while playing with the real life “Garfield.” (Joss Jones)

According to Academic Approach, over 50% of college admissions officers consider a student’s community involvement to positively impact their acceptance.

Some may see the association between success and community service as linear, but it isn’t. Students may see serving the community as the superior attribute, yet there are other ways to be involved.

I don’t think that not doing community service would negatively impact their ability to get into a good college,” Baskerville said. “They [can] get involved with the community in other ways such as sports and clubs.”

But, it can be seen where volunteering is promoted prior to students’ entrance into college. If a student has no compassion for their current community, then it could be hard for them to leave a positive impact on their future community.

“Some colleges might look to see if you are a good person to your community before allowing you in their community,” Zaleski said.

Community service before college can also impact a student’s ability to network, outsource and be involved with the people in their community. Not just the environment.

“Whether a student is involved in their community could affect their future success,” Baskerville said. “It relates to how community involvement is important because of the connections that can be built.” 

Individuals often don’t understand the importance of giving back to their community outside of being told that it is good and that they should do it. Giving back to the community is more than a success factor. It means more than just being obedient. Community service provides a way for people to learn more about what’s around them. It allows people the chance to develop as a person emotionally, physically, and socially.

“Some students don’t truly understand the benefits of community service on character, responsibility, and kindness,” Baskerville said.

Community service encourages integrity: doing the right thing when no one else is watching, giving time to one’s community offers the chance to be responsible: taking on accountability with different items and tasks. It allows people to be kind to others outside of their comfort zone.

People often see community service as a “means to an end” as Baskerville mentioned above. This lessens the focus on the task at hand as there is more concern surrounding the personal gains at the end of the finish line. There needs to be a certain level of commitment so that the tasks at hand can be completed intentionally.

“I think that students should prioritize being thorough and committed to their community service,” Baskerville said.

For examples of selfless community service, students can look to celebrities or political figures such as Jimmy Carter. He served as U.S. president for one term (1977- 1981). Following his presidency, Carter was heavily involved in the community working with different organizations such as Habitat for Humanity. Though he was not looking to further his political career, he still devoted his time to genuine acts of service.

There may sometimes be underlying ulterior motives whilst doing community service, but someday, people will reap the benefits that community service once provided to them. Just because the benefits may not be immediately visible, giving back to the community still provides growth.

While it may be true that community service can aid students in their acceptance within different organizations, I believe the incorrectness surrounding community service should be corrected. Community service is not a success factor and should not be completed for self-oriented reasons.

 Alone, being involved within the community does not equate with success. Community service should be completed with intention. 

“I think students should prioritize the task they are given and exceed the task,” Zaleski said.

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