My sweaty palms grasped onto the handles of two full to the rim grocery bags as my Dad rang the doorbell of a client’s house of a meal receiving program. As a white-haired, five foot elderly lady appeared at the door, with a smile as wide as her face, I instantly realized how much a simple meal meant to her. More than the food, her endless appreciation at the fact that we would take time out of our lives to help hers gave me a fulfilled feeling inside. I have experienced community service in this way ever since. As the end of school approaches every year, there are always students scrambling to complete their 20 mandatory community service hours. Many question the importance of having a minimum requirement for each year, and often look upon it as a chore instead of time well spent. Community service not only helps the community around us, but can also help us to develop a larger sense of the world.
Many private schools enforce a compulsory community service requirement, but public schools usually don’t. While community service is often overlooked, its importance in the world is truly significant. Development of character and understanding of others can be discovered through working with those who are less privileged and could use a hand.
Anyone who has volunteered can attest to the fact that the effects can be life changing. By now, you may have guessed that I am an avid participator in community service and fixing the wrongs in our world. As the younger generation, it is our responsibility to transform the world into a place where everyone can live peacefully.
I believe we should definitely have a mandatory community service requirement. However, it can be difficult for junior high and high school students to find opportunities. Many services only accept people ages 18 or older. That being said, I never feel like I have wasted my time or energy after attending an elderly home, delivering meals to those in need, or creating care packages for children in the hospital. In fact, I often feel humbled afterwards, as if I am gaining just as much or more as the person receiving help.
For the past two years, I have been involved in a philanthropic program called North Peninsula Jewish Teen Foundation (NPJTF). We research nonprofit organizations whose mission statements aligns with ours and fund them. Last year, I raised $1,900, and as a group we raised $45,000. By donating to communities all around the world and in our local area, I have learned about so many people in need. My perspective has completely changed. Doing more than 20 mandatory hours shows our commitment to sustain others by making a larger time commitment and, in turn, a larger difference in the world.
This year, as NPJTF supports victims of violence through health and educational services, it warms my heart to know that my time and effort could alter the course of someone’s life for the better. Community service should not be seen as a curse, but a blessing that we are privileged enough to have the time and resources to help others improve their lives.