Mandating community service to high schoolers has the potential to be extremely beneficial in the lives of young adults. Not only is it advantageous to their current situation, but more importantly it will have an extremely positive affect on their futures. Besides impacting the community positively, participating in community service promotes strong mental health and psychological well-being. According to research conducted on 180 volunteers who were interviewed, the experience was perceived as providing meaningful structure and enriched their lives by helping them to overcome personal trauma (Newman, journals.sagepub.com, 2017). Clearly volunteerism helps the whole, but in turn it creates a positive mindset for the volunteer themself.
On the other hand, requiring time to be allocated to a specific activity can be detrimental to certain students. Depending on the amount of mandated hours, many students may not have time to complete the graduation requirement. In turn, this loss of free time will create less hometime time for students, causing grades to slip for those who do not posses good time management skills. Additionally, Iowa already has an extremely high rate of participation in community service compared to the rest of the United States. In 2015, Iowa was rated the state with the tenth highest participation in service projects (www.nationalservive.gov, 2015). With such high marks overall for the state, it may not be necessary for BHS to mandate a set amount of service hours because clearly many students are already engaging in it on their own.
Although Iowa does have such a high rate of participation already, I believe this would be highly beneficial to all students at BHS. There are the obvious reasons like impacting our community in a positive way, but more subtly this required time will greatly impact students’ future. Having community service hours on any application tells the school or future employer that they are a hard worker and can get a personal feel for them depending on the type of charity work they choose to participate in. Also it will help them to stand out from those at other schools that do not have the requirement. This demand will also help students to work on time management skills by forcing them to balance their other activities with this requirement. Some may say this would constitute as a loss of freedom for students, but service learning is associated with academic gain so not only will students be enriching the community, but also themselves. Overall, volunteering is a great experience and is highly important for students’ futures and a requirement at BHS would be highly valuable for their education.