Since it’s election day, those behind Landmark360° thought that a blog post about community service and civic duty was relevant. Enjoy!
Somehow over the years, in the midst of the “ME” generation, this idea of volunteering for other people and other causes has really taken off. One of the problems I have as the Director of Community service at Landmark is that if students don’t sign up fast enough, their slots are taken. Such is the demand. I was more than happy when we were completing 700 – 1,000 hours of community service per year about ten years ago, and then this past year we eclipsed the 4,000 hour mark. There is simply more of an awareness, an intentionality about volunteering. People are looking more for opportunities to be involved. Granted, the emphasis of colleges now for community service in the admissions process drives this somewhat, but is that so bad? Students who might not otherwise have had the experience of volunteering get some exposure at least.
O.K. so let’s talk about the impact of volunteering, or service learning as it is often times called. For students who get involved with community service, working several days a week at say a YMCA or local after school program, I often see a marked improvement in confidence and self esteem. Students begin to see their impact or the difference they make in someone’s life because they keep showing up day after day. They grow with a sense of connectedness. They mature into healthy young adults ergo good citizens. Then there is the impact on the community. In our early years as a school, many in the community had no idea who we were cloistered up on a hill, hidden behind so many trees. Now people in the community at places like Beverly Hospital, the local YMCA, the elderly and homeless shelters have come to know and appreciate our school and our students as a result of our involvement. So community service has become a win-win-win for us. It benefits our students’ personal growth while establishing our reputation in the community as a quality institution and most importantly it helps others.