Spencer Jahng / Sophomore at the Pingry School
Since community service is all about helping others, the personal benefits are often overlooked. Many people often complete community service as a requirement or obligation without considering the personal growth involved. Of course, the reason a person does community service should be to help others first, yet the personal benefits can be significant. The volunteer work can be packing food bags and emergency supply kits, donating clothes, or visiting an elderly person.
For example, many high schools require students to complete a certain number of community service hours every year in order to graduate. Most of the time, students look at that requirement only as a necessity to graduate. However, if you take a step back and really understand what you are achieving, you will see that there are numerous benefits and reasons that you should be doing community service.
Some of the personal benefits that I have experienced from completing community service are an increased sense of accomplishment, pride, confidence, and happiness. According to a study conducted by researchers at the London School of Economics, it was concluded that the more community service people do, the happier they become.
The study shows that the odds of someone who does community service every other week is 12% more likely to be happy than someone who doesn’t do any community service. Even monthly volunteer work increases those odds to 7% more likely. Community service is proven to be a two-way street of positive benefits and outcomes. Not only are you helping other people in need, completing community service will improve your day-to-day life.
I experienced these benefits firsthand during the COVID-19 spring and summer quarantine last year. Because of COVID-19, the general atmosphere of the world felt negative, so I wanted to do whatever I could to counteract that negativity. Since the majority, if not all, in-person opportunities were closed, I did a quick search for online or remote opportunities and found an organization looking for volunteers in Texas. At the time, there was a major spike in COVID-19 cases in Texas and an underwhelming number of first aid responders. Over the course of several months, I helped to create a myriad of care packages filled with sanitary essentials, such as hand sanitizer and kleenex wipes, and a thank you note to show my appreciation for the first aid responders and their brave efforts.
When I first started to create the care packages, I felt like I was completing a requirement. But as I continued to make more, over time the community service became less of a chore and ended up being a fun, enjoyable activity. Even if my efforts were only appreciated or noticed by a small few, the thought of helping and uplifting others during a stressful time was enough motivation. What if one person hung up the thank you card I made as a pick-me-up and looked at it each morning while putting on all the safety gear required of them? And that note reminded them why they were on the front lines: to help others in need.
These first-hand experiences of the benefits of community service have inspired me to complete more community service in different capacities since then. The feeling of pride and warmth that come along with doing community service should be more than enough to inspire other high schoolers to help out in whatever way possible. A lot of people think that community service is boring, but you can find plenty of opportunities that align with your interests. That way, you will be helping others while doing something that you enjoy.
<Spencer Jahng / Sophomore at the Pingry School