I often think that the benefits of community service are inured more to the person serving than to those served. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of a group working together toward a common goal of strengthening the community in which you live or work. Those participating in community service have a direct impact on the community in which they reside. Because community service outlets vary, those who serve are exposed to many different kinds of people, environments, and situations.
Community service is not necessarily a voluntary act. Much of the community service that people engage in is as a requirement, or at least an expectation, for an organization to which they belong or even to reduce a sentence in a criminal case. Most high schools and colleges today require their students to engage in a certain number of hours each year in order to graduate. Schools often take students on community service projects so that they can learn how their individual actions affect the well-being of the public. Most colleges expect to see community service on an application to their institution. The number of hours of service expected for the better colleges is more than the minimum the applicant’s high school requires. Not only will an individual school require community service, but the sports teams and organizations which are a part of that school will almost always have their own additional requirement.
Churches, scouts and many fraternal organizations expect members to engage in community service. Even businesses encourage or even offer community service opportunities. Our communities are better places for the active role its citizens take in strengthening them. People may gain the most from their community service projects when they volunteer their time to help people with whom they have never interacted. This direct contact allows people to see life from a different perspective. The community service provider and the community itself are both strengthened by these acts of service to the community.