February 16, 2019

GOA Should Require More Community Service Hours

Hannah Stoch '22


Tikkun Olam, or healing the world, is one of Golda Och Academy’s main pillars and philosophies. By mandating community service hours, the school could further promote this value, as well as aid students in college and National Honors Society applications.
GOA currently has no required community service. One day a year is set apart for Community Service Day, started by alumni Jason Steinberg, but the volunteering is not mandated otherwise, and missing Community Service Day has no negative consequences.
The school occasionally has other service opportunities throughout the year, advertised for in places like the Student Life Update, but many students do not pay attention to them or don’t make time to participate.
If more service was mandatory, students would be more inclined to help.
Community service doesn’t just help the community but also helps the students involved. Volunteering teaches universal life lessons like responsibility and the importance of community. It also helps students learn to work in different environments and group dynamics.
Having hours of community service looks dazzling on applications for many programs including college and NHS. Although not the main goal of community service, the chance to get into a better college or summer program is a great motivator to get students involved. If the school’s goal is to mold powerful, community conscious young adults to send to college, then required hours would be a major help.
Some worry that if the service took place during school hours, too many classes would be missed. The easiest solution to this is to not volunteer during school hours except for Community Service Day, but rather have required hours as many public schools do.
Others worry students may not have time to volunteer out of school. However, the required amount of hours doesn’t need to be large. Even five hours a year from each student is an improvement from what GOA currently mandates, and this time can be slipped into even the busiest schedule.
The school can also help students find places to volunteer that interest them. Students that love animals can work at a shelter or students that love to plant flowers can work in a community garden. Volunteer work ranges across all forms of interest, and the school could easily help any student find their perfect fit.
Volunteering might spark an unanticipated interest. The more students volunteer, the less it will feel like an obligation and more like a way to help our community prosper.

By mandating service hours, the students will be introduced to the benefits of giving back and can even get something in return.

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