It is pretty amazing how community service has continued to develop and become an issue of debate in our schools and the community. It is quite agreeable that all students have come from different backgrounds. Socioeconomic backgrounds, family backgrounds and cultural backgrounds differ from student to student.
Ideological intertwinement between networks of students will lend a hand in trying to demystify the true value of community service, be it mandatory or voluntary. Continued development of this topic is therefore required for students to ruminate and crystallize its direct and indirect impacts on the environment in the societal perspective.
As people from all backgrounds engage themselves into this issue, the question to be asked is whether this should be voluntary or not. Many students will agree that it is good for them to engage in community work.
This is because community work reprieves a student from class work so that they are given a break to stop worrying about calculus, Newton’s laws of motion and the second theory of thermodynamics. It is this community work that allows students to apply what they have learnt in class to the real world. Thus such kinds of service projects are aimed at buttressing what the student has been able to learn in class.
There are diverse ways of engaging in community work. A school based environmental club can volunteer in cleaning up a drainage system or maintenance of a local roundabout. On the other hand organizations which are not school based may organize leadership forums or forums for citizenship to the local public (Randa 8). These community based organizations include the scouts or religious groups.
There are plenty of reasons to believe why mandatory community work is oxymoronic. For this statement to be substantiated, the pros and cons of mandatory communal work must be considered.
In the United States for example, students in a number of schools are required to perform certain services to the community before they earn a diploma. There have been a number of success and failure stories from schools which practice a sort of mandatory community service to their students.
Service learning programs are increasingly becoming popular in the national academic curriculum across the states of the U.S. One of the reasons is because President Clinton has been explaining the importance of volunteering to the community by the American students and the public. Proponents of this idea have come up with reasons to support this ideology. They exclaim that mandatory community service raises self esteem, morality and acts as a bridge between their individuality and that of their community. I strongly agree with these sentiments.
However there have also been criticisms against the program. The main critics claim that these programs oblige students to offer free labor placing them in a form of forced servitude which as they claim is unconstitutional. Involuntary community service also forces students to express specific beliefs thus interfering with their freedom of speech.
The opponents have gone ahead and described mandatory community service as a form of modern day slavery. I support this by exclaiming that community service should be voluntary and not mandatory. This way it can be done by most citizens of a country.
Majority of American citizens feel service learning program has benefited them in one way or another. This is explained by the fact that these programs crate awareness, particularly to the learners, on the need to offer community service.
Thus according to Bethlehem Area School District concerning this program, students will be able to understand their responsibility in their community when they serve them. Apprentices will manage developing a sense of pride in voluntary work to the society. The programs help students to acquaint themselves with community needs.
Community services should be done by most citizens of a country. I strongly agree with this because community service has been misconstrued by many people as a service rendered only by teenage students. Community service should be a service done during and after school life. This is due to the fact that it is a public thing thus beneficial to everyone, the young and the old, the school going and the working class and the guys on the streets. Thus this service must not be restricted to teenagers and college students.
However, I do partly disagree with policies which demand that community service should be compulsory for students to be accepted for admission. Community services should be encouraged not enforced, unless according to constitutional demands it is affected by a court ruling. We have to understand that these services should come from within an individual (Kintisch 5).
Thus when we involve in this issue of community service we have to take into considerations its effects on the individual’s academics and socioeconomic desires. Currently, there many schools in Northern America which oblige their students to engage in a 40 to 60 hours mandatory community work. Parents in other places are required to offer a particular service in order for their child to get a place in a sports team. Much as I do agree with these particular community services, the disagreement comes in the area of involuntary aspects.
Students and organizations who engage in offering free services such as visiting children’s homes and rehabilitation programs do offer a great assistance to the individuals in question. Free medical services to members of the society can help increase their life expectancies (IBA 4).
Communities and schools can be brought together when students and the public are encouraged to engage in community servicing. This is because the school invites the community into the learning process. These are some of the reasons why I support voluntary community programs. Recent research shows that these services reap many benefits for the individual and the public.
On the other hand making these programs to be mandatory makes the individual to feel like they have been forced to offer free labor to the community (Haskvitz 2). It is quite disadvantageous to those students who are not able to perform these tasks by virtue of their disabilities.
Service learning can also cause negative impacts on the individual because students and worker feel like the mandatory community service adds to their workload (Eccles & Appleton 20). Service learning may not help an organization to be responsive to its mission. In addition if an organization has less staff and limited resources, service learning may not sustain the diversion that service learning would mean for that particular organization (Abravanel 12).
Abravanel, Susan. Issue Paper, Civil Engagement and Service Learning, Building Community through Service Learning: The Role of the Community Partner, April 2003 Indiana Broadcasting Association (IBA), a Local Report on Broadcasters’ Community service 2004
Eccles, Jacquelyn & Appleton, Jennifer. Community Programs to Promote Youth Development, National Research Council and National Academy of Sciences, National Academy Press, 2002
Haskvitz, Alan. A community service program that can be validate, Journal article, Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 78, 1996
Kintisch, Eli. Mandatory community service is truly oxymoronic Randa, Morris. Volunteer teens: pros and cons, 2010. 4th Nov. 2010.