Real Community Service

Here at ICS, each High School student is required to have three hours of community service completed by each quarter in order to graduate. This is fairly common among High School students across the world. They have to get the overseer to sign their form, and then write about their experience, integrating how they used to ESOs (expected student outcomes). Community service teaches about the importance of helping others, and gets students to be involved in their community.

There is nothing wrong with service. We are all called to be servants, young and old. But for some strange reason, it feels like a chore. Whenever I get the person in charge to sign my form, I feel as if I have cheated them. It feels like saying, “I didn’t really want to help, I just did it because I had to.” I don’t leave feeling ‘good’, or ‘full,’ I just feel like I have completed my homework.

It should go without saying that kindness should go beyond acquiring a signature. Our capable hands should extend to help others every hour of every day, not just for three hours in a quarter. Played alone, love or service, are all well and good, but love and service should be two single chords of which, when played together, create a beautiful song.

There is nothing wrong with community service. I think that what needs to change is our attitude towards it. Helping others means so much more than just a graduation requirement. We can serve others in the small things. Holding the door open, picking up a pen they dropped, listening to them when they need someone. It doesn’t have to be part of any organization. There are opportunities everywhere you look, if only you would keep your eyes open.

This quote from Mother Teresa, a nun whose life was devoted to serving others, sums up the matter perfectly.

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”

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