The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

Community Service: A tool for success and growth

Dianna Razo (made with Canva)
Community service has a lot of benefits that can be given to students. They just need to find what fits them.

You might have found annoyance and see it as a chore as it takes the time people may want for the fun they can do at home. Some see it as a fun time to hang out with friends and other students along with increasing your networking skills. Regardless, it is something that here at MCHS, we all have to do unless we want a bad grade in AVID, and that is community service.

Regardless of how someone may feel about doing community service, it has been noted by teachers how important completing community service during school years is, whether it is the mental health implications, how it would look good on your college applications or help guide students onto a future career pathway. Community service has been seen as an essential tool in order to help someone become successful.

Junior year AVID teacher Kathleen Peterson shares some importance in what community service gives to students here at MCHS.

“Community service is important because it allows students the opportunity to give back to the world or community in some way. If students find something they are truly interested in, it can spark a possible career or major for college,” Peterson said.

This sort of exploration and experience is something that 10th grade AVID teacher Amy Holte can relate to as she experiences it herself.

“I was a part of the Kiwanis and NHS Club and did a ton of volunteer work. I found myself gravitating toward opportunities with kids, coaching soccer and tutoring at the library for example, and this eventually led me to becoming a teacher,” Holte said.

Community service has been shown to bring that benefit of being a good way to help students dip their feet into potential career options. It can also help students explore what they like to do and connect it to potential careers.

Sophomore Kareem Hosan has found that his experience has helped him find out more about his future career. He is one of the co-founders of Bloomin Buds, a community service group working with Santa Ana’s community garden.

“From an outside perspective, the kind of work that I do for community service doesn’t seem to appeal to my career path. It’s quite the opposite in fact, because most of the community service opportunities that I choose to work with usually favor my career in some way. I plan to major in civil engineering, which is a pathway known for constructing buildings and structures. Most of what I do, typically nature-related, is the kind of civil engineering pathway I strive for,” Hosan said.

An additional benefit that comes from completing community service hours is that it helps students bring a sense of belonging to their community. Through community service they can find out and learn about issues that may be surrounding their community, along with providing students to become a helping hand to help combat and fix these problems.

Peterson notes how important it can be for a student to complete community service due to the connection it can form between a student and their community.

“Community service allows students to feel like they are making a difference, whether it be picking up trash at the beach or the park, or volunteering at the local animal shelter. Students gain a sense of autonomy. They are able to make a difference in a way that matters to them,” Peterson said.

Not only can it help bring a sense of belonging and community to students, but it can also help with developing new skills. Community service can be a good way for students to expand and explore who they are, from both the experience and interacting with others while they volunteer.

Sophomore Hosan saw himself learn and grow more through his community service experience.

“From these opportunities, I felt the one thing I learned the most was communication and socialization. I’m quite an introverted person but forcing myself to do these volunteering opportunities allows me to communicate with people I never would otherwise have talked to. It’s because of this that I can create a good network and gain a feeling of belonging and relaxation,” Hosan said.

It of course is also a leg up in improving your application when applying for college and universities. This can definitely be something that is important when heading to go into higher education after high school, especially when the schools are competitive.

This factor of how community service is important for college is something that Peterson touches upon.

“Additionally, colleges look at the student as a whole. Academics are important, but so are all of the ‘extras’ that students do, such as being involved in clubs, programs, or doing volunteer work. It is important that students find something of meaning to get involved with during high school,” Peterson said.

Even with these benefits, it is understandable that some students may not want to engage with community service. Some may find it hard to find consistent opportunities making them unable to build a habit. Others may find it difficult to even do it because of it not being the right type of service they wish to complete because of things like social anxiety or introversion. Others may just find it irritating that they have to complete a certain amount of hours.

Hosan points out how he first felt about doing community service when first starting at Middle College in freshman year.

“I used to feel quite iffy about doing volunteer work. It felt somewhat like an unnecessary chore that you put yourself through,” Hosan said.

However, once someone can find exactly what they like to do for community service it can open a gateway into them becoming more involved with their community.

Hosan shares how his feelings towards community service changes once he finds the type of community service he likes to do.

“Sophomore year, though, I had a change of heart about volunteering. With clubs like TeamStreets, volunteering felt fun for once. Not only would you be making an impact, but you’re also having fun and feeling productive. It’s one of the few things that led me to continue to volunteer nowadays, even if I don’t need to do it,” Hosan said.

Community service can be very important into the future of students from being a stepping stone into achieving higher education to helping them grow and connect with their community. It all matters that students simply find what exactly they would like to do in community service and they feel comfortable about spending their hours being a helping hand.

Hosan leaves a note for students who may be more wary about community service. He reiterates the importance of community service and that it is not so frightening to go into going and taking advantage of these types of opportunities.

“Make sure to build connections while you can. Most of those I’ve networked with are really supportive and willing to help. If you wanna feel better about your community, I recommend community service. Don’t try to do community service just for the sake of doing community service. If you find yourself not liking a certain community service opportunity, you don’t have to keep going with it. Do what you love and that should reflect on your future career,” Hosan said.

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About the Contributor
Dianna Razo
Dianna Razo, Staff Writer
I love listening to music, reading is a passion of mine, and Spirited Away is my favorite movie.