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Community service is when someone performs an action that makes the community benefit. Community service includes tutoring children, helping the elderly, building homes for poor people and participating in habitat restoration. Community service work is done by volunteers who do the work voluntarily hence are not paid. Some people perceive community service negatively by associating it with punishment because it is usually offered to minor offenders. Involving oneself in the community makes it livelier and healthier. According to me therefore, students should be required to complete community service as a requirement for college graduation. When students are engaged in community service, they stand to benefit psychologically.
Students who have previously engaged in community service have shown improvements in health, increased positive mental feelings and also decreases stress and depression. It enables them buffer the consequences of stressors. It also induces the -feel good- feeling. This is because students will derive pleasure through bonding and attaining results. Psychologically, it will help students get relieved from daily stressful chores and therefore will tend to increases the life spans and improve the mental health of the students. Volunteering helps develop a new skill because it gives the student the knowledge needed for planning and implementing, goal setting and budgeting skills. Volunteers derive a sense of motivation and achievement because community service there is no pressure to act from others.
Enthusiasm to help generated from desire of community service will give personal satisfaction. Through community service, students will be able to learn new interest and hobbies. The fun derived from learning new things is energizing, relaxing and fun. The sense of fulfilment and the energy help to develop different perspective of old situations by relieving tension. Through community service, students will be able to explore opportunities and expand horizons hence strengthening their professional and personal mission. Meeting a diverse range of people and getting new experiences is also good for the students. It develops a great networking opportunity that enables interaction and learning from people from all walks of life and environments. The information one learns from community service could have an impact on the students' life later on in life.
I think community service should be made a requirement for students before they can graduate because they stand to benefit socially. Through their participation in service projects it will enable them make bonds with each other and with other members of the community. This bonding will improve social networking and inter personal between them. More so, volunteering will help those have initially exhibited anti social behaviours to get involved in positive ways by making them have the desire to cooperate and help others in the society. Another benefit of student community servicing is that it would help them get the feeling of social connectedness that is slowly waning in today's society that is getting segmented each day.(Gallagher 2003)
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Former students who engaged in community service have shown an increase in social responsibility and a strong desire to give back to the societies they have come from. It enables them to build citizenship, cooperation and trust. It helps to inhibit students from anti social behaviours like drug abuse and stealing. Apart from reducing negative inclinations e.g. lack of concern for others and mistrust, it can helping creation of positive forces and social capital. These are social networks of cooperation and trust that helps in promotion of greater political involvement in public affairs. It will also help students develop improved communication skills because volunteers tend to interact and socialise with people from various backgrounds therefore improving self confidence and self esteem. It enables students who need an outlet for their behavioural traits of kindness and selflessness to get that satisfaction. Some students have always thought of ways of giving back to the community. It gives them the opportunity of seeing community service from a different angle therefore giving them sense of humility for their own lives.
Through community service, students will be able to attain cognitive benefits. This enables them to develop their old skills while at the same time learn new skills. It enables ones knowledge base to increase when past experience is integrated with new information. Understandings of how the community is set up to function is learned from the lessons learned from volunteering, this enables students to know the set up of the community which enables them to easily blend in after their graduation. More so, it helps students to share experiences and reflect upon them, therefore gaining cognitively. Through community service students are able to learn knowledge about the people they volunteer to work for, the attitudes of being responsible, being able to solve problems and being active citizens. They are able to attain this when they are in programs that give them opportunities to talk about and process their direct experiences.(Rahima 1997)
Students will be able to develop an appreciation for civic affairs and understand their responsibility to participate in political process because they will be able to experience and observe the effects of the policies on their communities. By engaging in community service students will be able to get exposed to diversity, different ways of thinking and multiculturalism. By engaging themselves in various aspects of community lives that they would unlikely involve themselves in; students get new ways of thinking and get new information. They benefit a lot from interacting and talking with those they help or work with and hence they can have different points of view. In so doing, students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. This is because the situations in which students learn the most are the ones in which they can determine what ought to be done at the appropriate levels of responsibility. Students use complex thinking skills to solve problems when they are given responsibilities of making decisions in tasks that are interesting and important to them.
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Despite all the benefits, community service has some negative effects too. The time required for community service could be insufficient considering the students tight schedule. Engaging in community service would mean that students have to take time off their busy schedules and this would impact negatively on their studies and work programs. More so, some people consider community service as a form of punishment for petty offenders. This would therefore inhibit their morale and hence would not benefit them individually. The service they will offer will be more of an obligation than voluntary hence will not be efficient. It could interfere with holding part time jobs and learning the basics. It puts an unfair burden on students because it's the role of parents to mould the characters of students. Forcing students into volunteering seems to create a generation of students who view community service with a bad taste because some of them will consider it as slave labour.(Yates 1997).
In conclusion, I would suggest the inclusion of community service as a requirement for students before graduation. Students will benefit a lot in such matters as improving their interpersonal relation with others, and this could help them greatly once they get employed. It gives them a hand on experience with the communities they deal with hence they can learn a lot pertaining to the community they work for. Finally, most employers tend to hire graduates who have experience in community service. I would therefore suggest that students should be required to complete community service as a college graduation requirement.