Volunteer Work and Students – No

High school students have a great deal on their plates already. School curriculum have changed to include racing through subject matter in order to be on track with what the government in “No Child Left Behind” has decided is where our educational systems should be.  Studying, keeping on top of grades, homework, activities, and sometimes part time work, keeps most students busy enough. Students also, in many cases, have household chores or partial care of siblings after school and before. Requiring volunteering in community service projects on top of everything else is totally unfair to any student.

Volunteering is just that: Voluntary. Requiring a student to participate in a community service project is not a plea for volunteering; it is a mandate. School should be a place where the basic “R’s” are taught. These three “R’s” are already taking a back seat to many regulations put upon the school systems by government and well-meaning administrative subjugation. Asking more of a student is asking for too much.

Young people today live in a stressful atmosphere to grow up in.  It has always been a challenge to get through teenage years, but seems even more so than ever before.  Technology is changing things so quickly that it is hard to keep up. New ideas and ways of doing things are coming at our teens so quickly that they do not have time to enjoy a childhood any more.

Many students struggle with today’s curriculum. They struggle with the everyday social aspects of the school routine. They struggle with mixed up families. And, unfortunately, they struggle with themselves as they try to “grow up”. It would hardly seem that adding more pressure to people who are already exceedingly stressed would be helpful to anyone involved whether it be the student or the volunteer project.

Perhaps it would behoove us to look at classifying volunteer work in community projects as an added bonus, or extra credit, to a working, studying student. This would enable the student to participate if he would like and gain something from helping in the community. In this way, students would be able to participate in projects utilizing their time to benefit society and learning that feeling of accomplishment that accompanies helping someone else.  It would be time well spent as a teaching tool, an aid in community projects, and the overall well-being of students and society.

Never, under any circumstances, however, should volunteering be considered a mandatory endeavor.