OPINION: The number of mandatory community service hours needed to graduate should be increased


Alecia Leshan

STEM students are required to volunteer for at least 20 hours each year.

Community service is just one of many requirements needed to graduate some high schools in California. For some students, the requirement is disregarded until the last minute, leaving many searching for a way to find and complete their volunteer hours just to get them done. To avoid this, SCHS should increase and place more emphasis on community service hours each year as it will benefit students and prevent them from scrambling in their senior year.

Community service provides many perks for students, the most significant being helping others. The basis of volunteering is to give back to the community. Many volunteer activities allow students to develop awareness for those in need and those who are less fortunate. 

Volunteering also allows students to explore different career opportunities while gaining real world experiences. Depending on the activity, students may work with various people, including children, adults or elderly, along with being in different work environments. Furthermore, getting experience in careers of interest can also help students make connections that may help them in the future.

Similarly, even if a student is unsure of their future career, volunteer activities also provide individuals with universal skills that may translate to any job or workplace. According to Habitat for Humanity, some of the most prominent skills one can improve through volunteering include communication, organization, teamwork and problem solving.

SCHS should increase the number of community service hours mandatory to graduate so students can gain more of its benefits. Students who are in STEM are required to complete 20 volunteer hours each year. In doing so, they not only meet the general graduation requirement within one school year, but completing more community service can help push them to explore more opportunities.

For some who put off community service, a higher volunteer requirement may seem like a burden. When community service is pushed until the last minute, students do not gain all of its benefits. A yearly requisite would help address this problem. SCHS could divide the required volunteer hours throughout each year, thus making students more aware of the task and helping students to actually complete the requirement. Additionally, dividing up the hours also makes the number of hours seem more manageable.

Some may find it difficult to complete a set number of hours each year due to lack of time or resources. Fortunately, throughout distance learning, SCHS counselors have provided students with community service opportunities that can be complete remotely. Similarly, multiple clubs allow for community service activities that would have been done on campus during school hours but that now can be completed at home, too.

Although the community service requirement can seem like another task to check off of things to do, volunteering comes with many benefits that can aid students in the future. By increasing and  dividing up the required hours into smaller, more manageable increments, students will be able to stay on track and get the most out of their community service experiences.