Requiring volunteers

Filed under: Teens, In The News, Day Care & Education

A school district in southern Maine has generated some debate by proposing that students complete ten hours of community service a year in order to graduate. Some are saying that forced volunteerism is not volunteerism at all and will not do the kids any good. "I think it's stupid," said fourteen-year-old Kristie Hansen. "It's not volunteer work if they're forcing people to do it."

School committee member Mike Duffy, however, disagrees. "I'm in favor of it, if it's done right," he said. "I don't just want someone to say, I picked up three sticks; I want them to find something that they're interested in." The plan would be phased in with current seniors completing ten hours of service before graduating, juniors doing twenty hours, and so on until all students are completing a full forty hours of service over the course of their four years.

I see a lot of high-school aged volunteers at the nursing home where I hang out a lot, but I don't know if they're just trying to bolster their chances at getting into the college they want or if it's actually required. Either way, I think it's a good idea because it gets kids used to the idea of volunteering and lets them understand that not only is it not a big deal, it is actually very rewarding.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.