Albert Einstein, one of the smartest men to ever live, is quoted saying “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” This is achieved through striving to uplift those around you with volunteering. Anything from cleaning up garbage to offering companionship to elderly and disabled people is a way to change the world, bit by bit.
However, no single person can change the world on his or her own. There must be a constant effort from all of those that support this belief. Some believe that the best way for this to be accomplished is through mandatory community service implemented through schools, charities or churches.Although community service can be extremely valuable in the development of both character and academics, some believe the negative effects of forcing students to participate by making a set amount of service a requirement for graduation could offset the benefits. Today, a majority of high schools require so many hours of community service in order for high school seniors to graduate.
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In 1984, only 17 percent of high schools offered a community service program. This number increased 66 percent in just 15 years. By 1999, 83 percent of all high schools offered, and many required participation in, a community service program. Two thirds of high schools today require students in all grades to participate in community service activities (Howe and Strauss), but is this taking it too far?
Community service is being forced upon students all over the country. Students who are forced to do community service will grow to resent it, making them less likely to volunteer in their communities after college. Our country needs people to volunteer, and more than just the young adult high school population.
Also, if students are forced to do community service, the quality of the help they give is probably not going to be very good because they don't really want to do it. Requiring community service takes the volunteerism out of the equation and soon many of those who “volunteer” are those who don’t even want to be there. Forcing students to participate in community services will cause them to resent voluntary services for the community later in life. In most communities, community service is used as a punishment for those who step out of line.
“For teenagers, ‘community service’ came to mean punishment for drunk drivers and Breakfast Club miscreants” (Howe and Strauss). In addition to students coming to resent community service, mandatory service takes away the benefits that actual volunteers would receive. If community service is not required, volunteerism carries more weight on a college application.
Aside from the collegial benefit, volunteering helps to build the moral center of oneself. In the article, “Community Service Mission Statement”, the writer states that “Community Service situates our moral center;” also that it teaches us through experience “—about the relationship between empathy and responsibility, about what it takes to be a part of a community”.
The strength of a community is found within the hearts of those who make the area a home. However, critics believe that community service should be required. They argue that education should not be limited to the classroom and that community service is a learning experience. While this may be true, many other experiences are educational yet should not be mandatory for high school students. For example; sports. Not all students are meant to be athletes. Sports are encouraged throughout high schools, but not required. This gives students the opportunity to experience what it means to work hard as a team. If all students were required to play sports, it would ruin sports for those who love to play.
The same goes for volunteering: service is a growing and a learning experience, yet if unwilling students are required to participate in service activities, they spoil the experience for everyone else. Critics support their idea with a great argument; however, it isn’t logical. Community service is without a doubt a learning experience, but the choice to partake in such an experience should be left to the student. Community service isn’t for everyone just as sports aren’t for everyone. It’s up to more than just the high school student to change the world, and this can be achieved by activities other than community service.
Community service isn’t about padding one’s resume, it isn’t about doing things so that one might be proud and arrogant about it. But it is the dawning realization of to the greater understanding our humanity, our fragility and a greater appreciation of the great lives that so many of us lead and deem to be “normal” when it pretty much is extraordinary in its own respect relative to many other individuals around the world.
I spent my hours, dedicated to Community service, as an intern at the North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital. Although taking part in this internship was initiated in order to further my knowledge and experience in the medical field, I was taught how to make relations with unknown people that were for the most part, ill. This has been one of the greatest experiences because I got the chance to interact with many different types of people including doctors, nurses, hospital staff members, and patients.
This was a double gift for me because my interests in medicine have been greatly expanded and I was given the honor of being able to help those that were in need, whether it was reading a short book to them, or even closing the curtain in their room upon their request. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. ”- Mahatma Gandhi. This quote summarizes my experience at the hospital, where I was able to find myself in respect to humanity.
When I first got notice that I would be working in a hospital, I was ambivalent: thrilled that I would finally get a chance to experience first-hand what people of the health profession feel, and reluctant because of the atmosphere that would surround me for three hours of a day. Though my intuitions were right to some extent, I didn’t even get a chance to notice the shortcomings of my internship at the hospital. I was always busy with some job or another; from patient interaction to clerical work, my hands were always busy.
The first day I went to serve my time at the hospital was quite possibly one of the most enlightened days of my life. I learned more in the three hours than I would in a week if I were to go straight home. Throughout the winter term internship at NSLIJ Hospital I was able to observe a vast array of medical specialties. I learned what it means to be a part of the medical field, and the responsibilities that go along with that.
I spent the majority of my time at the hospital shadowing doctors as they went about their daily practices: seeing patients, performing procedures, analyzing test results, collaborating with other doctors, etc. This internship was incredibly valuable as it opened my eyes to time, dedication, and care it takes to become a good doctor. Every few weeks, the interns would switch positions, so that everyone could be a part of most, if not all, departments. There was the ICU, for burn victims; the Children’s Ward, for newborns and infants; the Clerical section, where filing took place; etc.
If we were lucky enough, we got the chance to see an actual birth taking place, of course the permission of both the doctor and patient was need along with a strong stomach. In my opinion, the hospital internship is one of the most effective ways in not only putting a person who wants to pursue a career in the health professions on the right path, but also in interacting with people of all sorts. The best thing about this experience was that I was able to put a smile on people’s faces. I received more than just knowledge and experience from taking part in this internship- I received blessings.
What more can a person ask for? It was an elderly woman that said “God Bless You” to me after I had helped her to sit up on her bed. I encourage anyone and everyone to participate in a program similar to this one, because it was beneficial to me in many ways. I was enlightened in the field of medicine and gained experience, I got a chance to build on my people skills, and best of all, I was the source of even the little amount of happiness that I was capable of providing to the people around me!
Community Service Project Essay
(a) What does community service/volunteerism mean to you? * I define volunteerism as a service performed for the benefit of others with little or no benefit to the person carrying out the service. One may volunteer for many reasons but these should not include expecting to receive an income or publicity for work being done. One benefit that a volunteer may have however is growing their knowledge base about the activity in which they are participating. One should think about the ways which they can make their community a better place to live for themselves and everyone else.
It’s really not that hard, carrying out simple actions like helping an elderly person to cross the road or donating your unworn clothes to persons who have a greater need for it can be classified as volunteerism. (b) Which two of the four goals of Vision 2030 do you think is most closely linked to community service/volunteerism? Why? * Of the four goals of Vision 2030, I think that the first goal- “Jamaicans are empowered to achieve their fullest potential” and the fourth goal- “Jamaica has a natural healthy environment” would be the two most closely linked to volunteerism.
Through personal empowerment, volunteers may seek to realize their full potential by conveying to themselves tasks which will benefit them as well as the society in which they live. Volunteers may seek to assist persons with additional training they may need as well as school projects. This is done in effort to bring forth well rounded individuals. The final goal of Vision 2030 states that Jamaica has a natural and healthy environment. Volunteers can help Jamaica to achieve this by cleaning up their environment and various communities. By doing so, they will have helped to create healthy and comfortable surroundings for all citizens. c) Select one of the two goals discussed in (b) and suggest ways you can contribute to achieving this goal through your community service. * I believe that I can help to carry out goal four of Vision 2030. The Bible (NIV) says in 1st Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” and so I believe that each and every one of us were made stewards of this Earth and that it is our responsibility to take care of the environment and all things in it.
Stewardship aids in the development of society and so I will take it upon myself to volunteer at Hope Zoo Preservation so I can develop better work ethics, make good use of my free time as well as help the organization to return to its former glory. This includes participating in cleanup activities, carrying out administrative tasks and doing everything else in my power to facilitate smooth operation so that visitors will always remember Hope Zoo not just as a commodity but as an experience. Lecturer’s Signature________________________
Submission Date___________________________ Reflection Piece #2 a. Identify your agency and briefly discuss the history, goals and objectives of the agency. * The organization that I have been contributing to for a greater cause is Hope Zoo which is located on Old Hope Road, Kgn 6 in St. Andrew, Jamaica. The institution, a section of the Hope Botanical Gardens and Zoo was originally a part of Hope Estate which was owned and operated by Richard Hope- a former commander in the British army- who had been gifted the estate in return for helping Britain take control of Jamaica.
What we now know as Hope Botanical Gardens and Zoo is the largest in the Caribbean and is just 200 acres of the estate which was bought by the Government to establish an experimental garden for foreign species in the late nineteenth century. One very important moment in the history of Hope Gardens is Queen Elizabeth II’s visit in 1953. Hope Zoo has been undergoing some major restoration changes over the years and in 2005, the Nature Preservation Foundation (NPF) took charge.
The NPF intends to “develop and manage Hope Zoo and the Royal Botanic Gardens as a sustainable facility for environmental education, applied research, recreation, wildlife and flora conservation for Jamaica and the region; and to position the facility as part of the Tourism Product. ” b. Bearing the Vision 2030 goal you selected in reflection 1 in mind, identify a set of objectives you aim to fulfill in your assignment at the agency. * I chose the fourth goal of Vision 2030- “Jamaica has a natural healthy environment”.
The objectives I aim to fulfill in my assignment at Hope Zoo include: participating in cleanup activities so that the staff, guests as well as animals can benefit from existing in a clean environment; carrying out administrative tasks in an attempt to lessen the work load of the administrative department as well as being readily available to any visitor who may have questions or need help with something in an attempt to facilitate smooth operation. c. Discuss the specific steps you will take to accomplish these objectives. In order to accomplish these objectives, I will ensure my early arrival to the institution each time I am on duty and immediately report to my supervisor for a list of my duties for the day. I will then proceed to complete my tasks which will revolve around the objectives mentioned above as well as observing my surroundings to see what else needs to be done and how I can make a contribution. These steps will be completed in an effort to make Hope Zoo a better place and in agreement with Vision 2030: Jamaica.
Lecturer’s Signature________________________ Submission Date___________________________ Reflection Piece #3 a. Identify some of the problems/issues you experienced during your placement. * This has been a very good experience, however I did not particularly appreciate being harassed by a particular zoo keeper on more than one occasions during my forty hours of service. b. To what extent did problems you encountered/witnessed in your placement reflect problems prevalent in the wider Jamaican society? Being troubled or provoked by persons in the workplace causes discomfort and disagreement. This is mostly done out of envy or jealousy. One worker may do it to get another worker angry enough to react violently, no doubt getting into problems with the manager and possibly losing his/her job. Either way, victims of this are often not very happy with their jobs and so productivity levels tend to decrease. There may also be a lack of interest in completing tasks efficiently as workers would have lost focus. c.
What impact do you think these problems will have on our ability to achieve the goals laid out in Vision 2030? * I believe that provocation between workers will have an impact on the country’s ability to achieve goal one -“Jamaicans are empowered to reach their fullest potential” and goal 3 -“Jamaica’s economy is prosperous”. Jamaicans will not have reached their fullest potential by 2030 if there is constant workplace harassment or violence as this would have caused their interest and determination levels to decrease.
If a worker’s determination and desire to carry out his/her duties effectively decreases, productivity levels will also decrease and so Jamaica’s economy will not be as prosperous we want it to be by 2030. d. What solution did you employ to address the problem? * I addressed the problem by having a private chat with the person about my issue as well as possible implications of workplace harassment on the business itself. I made sure he understood my position and we came to a truce. I can honestly say this worked wonders as up until this point we have not had another conflict. Lecturer’s Signature: Submission Date: ____________________
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