The issue regarding the importance of participating in community service has for long time generated intense debate among behaviorists. According to anthropologists, sociologists and other behaviorists in different fields, doing charity work or helping others fundamentally changes something in our behavior and ability to understand others.
Behaviorists argue that once you have worked on a community service project, you will want to continue helping others throughout your life. on the other hand, another group argues that forcing people to do community service in their town, city or country changes nothing inside the person’s life and only serves to fix problems albeit temporarily.
Although both groups of people have valid reasons for their arguments, I tend to agree that every citizen of a country should require community service due to the enormous benefits accrued from the exercise. (KidsHealth)
According to a report by Diana Loupe titled Community Service: Mandatory or Voluntary?, the approach that one takes in joining community service can determine if the program will fail or not. The article narrates the outcome of community service schemes of two schools in the same state. In these schools, high school juniors were supposed to complete a certain amount of time in doing community service for them to be able to receive their high school diplomas.
In one group of schools known as Jefferson Parish, students had to complete 40 hours of service while in another school known as Chicago students had to complete 60 hours for them to be able to graduate. Although the students in Jefferson Parish School had to put shorter hours than in Chicago, the system failed before the involved students could graduate. The system in Chicago School is still existent close to ten years after its introduction. (Loupe)
By looking at the two schools, the situation in them was quite different. Although students in Jefferson had to put up with shorter hours than in Chicago, their system was rather forced. This made education officials to claim that the system took away academic hours hence leading to its scraping.
On the other hand, students from Chicago were given an option of choosing the activities they wanted to get involved in. On top of this, teachers got training on community service and students were encouraged to reflect on what they wanted to do. Unlike the situation in Jefferson where community service was done as a prerequisite for graduation, the system in Chicago had community and administrative support.
The outcome of this system was that students in this school were found to engage in some form of community work long after they had gotten their certificates. This example shows that engaging in voluntary community service while young has a greater impact for the participant in the future. On the other hand, forcing people to do community service does little in changing ones behavior. (KidsHealth)
Engaging in community service not only helps in transforming the behavior of young people but it is also helpful to adults. In the modern world, it is easy for families to feel detached from each other due to the long list of chores that parents have to deal with. However, choosing to do simple chores together can really make a big impact in bringing families together.
Psychologist’s term engaging in community service projects to be one of the most effective ways of bringing families together. Volunteering not only enables parents to help the community but they also set up a good example for their children. Studies have showed that volunteering brings pleasure and pride to an individual.
Committing one’s time to a cause that you believe in can bring untold joy in life. If children could be encouraged to join community service while at a young age, they would be willing to join community service even as adults. This would in turn encourage their children to join community service even at a young age hence change the course of a whole generation. (Bryant)
Another advantage that voluntary community service brings in life is in enhancing the social aspect of the elder members of the society. In most cases, majority of senior citizens find it hard to transition from work to retirement. By remaining productive, feeling useful and staying in touch with people whom they share things in common can help senior members of the society to adapt from the working climate and get accustomed to living on their own.
Upon retiring, many people lose contact with their fellow co-workers and pals when they leave their job places. If one lives without interacting with people, it is easy for one to become withdrawn and probably suffer from depression. By engaging in community service, seniors are able to not only get out of the house but they also get an opportunity to meet people who have the potential of becoming new friends.
Engaging in community service has been termed as one of the best ways that people can meet new acquaintances. It is often easy for senior people who were involved in community service in their early days to join service than their counterparts who are doing it for the first time. This goes a long way in showing why people should be encouraged to join community service while they are young. (Bryant)
On top of helping to improve people’s behavior, community service helps in improving one’s physical and emotional health. Today’s world is moving at such a fast rate such that people do not get a chance to engage in physical activities. This takes a toll on their physical and emotional health.
Engaging in community work helps people to not only give back to the society but also to engage in physical activities that consequently help them to boost their health. Most importantly, community service gives one an opportunity to learn new skills that might help them in their personal lives. All these benefits can only be realized fully if people and especially the young are encouraged to engage in voluntary community service. (Bryant)
There are many theories surrounding the issue of community service. Some behaviorists claim that engaging in voluntary community service helps people to better their behavior later on in life. While this is true, it is important to ensure that people are not involved in forced community service since while it may fix a problem at the time being, it does nothing to make the person better in the future.
Studies show that people who engage in voluntary community service while younger have a greater probability of continuing with the service even when they are old. This teaches us that engaging in voluntary community service is something that should be encouraged to every citizen. However, it is important to ensure that one is given a chance to serve in an area of their interest.
Bryant, Barbara. Benefits of Community Service for Elder Citizens, 2010. Web. Oct 1 2010. < http://www.ehow.com/list_6428063_benefits-community-service-senior-citizens.html>
KidsHealth. Community Service: A family’s Guide to Getting involved, 2010. Web. Oct 4 2010. < http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/volunteer.html>
Loupe, Diane. Community Service: Mandatory or Voluntary?, 2000. Web. Sep 21 2010.