Some high schools across the country require students to complete a certain amount of community service in order to graduate. However, at Berkeley High School, students do not have to complete this requirement. Despite this, community service is essential throughout the formative years of one’s life. It aids the local community, helps students develop a sense of belonging and commitment, and is a great thing to put on college or job applications. Therefore, BHS should require that students complete community service hours for the benefit of all.
Community service has a great impact, especially at a local level. Volunteers are the backbone of communities, especially underfunded and understaffed places. With many more high school volunteers, different organizations and places all around Berkeley would benefit. Volunteering also unifies people from many different backgrounds. No matter where one lives or what their economic status is, everyone who engages in community service has the common goal of bettering the community.
Self-improvement can come from giving back to the community as well. Volunteering is a great way to develop a sense of belonging and self-appreciation, especially for teens. High schoolers often feel as though they’re not good enough or out of place, so volunteering can be a crucial way to lift spirits and mental health.
According to a study in the National Library of Medicine, “adolescent volunteering may lead to further involvement in young adult volunteering and have a positive effect on school completion.”
The high school years are incredibly formative, so creating good habits now can also transfer on into adulthood.
Though some might say that volunteering is useless if a student is forced into it, that is not the case. What matters is the impact that one can have on their community, and the impact their community can have on them. Additionally, these hours could possibly guide students away from negative options, such as substance abuse, because their time would be focused towards helping others.
Through community service, students can learn more about their local community, help to better Berkeley, and build healthy habits. By adapting methods used by other high schools that already have mandatory service hours in place, BHS could become a better place, in turn making the entire city of Berkeley a better place.