Students can benefit greatly from volunteering, leading some individuals to push for mandatory volunteering during school years. Volunteering helps the community, teaches important lessons, and helps develop individuals both personally and professionally. Opportunities range from highway cleanup, to walking shelter animals, to training with local emergency response groups and so much more. As a volunteer and animal rescue advocate, I personally think everyone should volunteer at something, especially in their younger years. Should volunteering be mandatory? Despite all the wonderful benefits of volunteering – no, it never should.
What are the primary benefits of volunteering to students?
The very act of volunteering helps build confidence and produces a sense of accomplishment, all while fostering a sense of community responsibility. As an added bonus, kids tend to stay busy, so they’re more likely to stay out of trouble.
Volunteering looks great on a college resume. It’s one way that all students can demonstrate their commitment to community and their work ethic, as well as their motivation to improve. Similarly, volunteering is a way to get a leg up in the work force even if actual paid work opportunities aren’t available in a desired field. More than anything, it shows that someone is willing to work hard, and doesn’t need monetary incentive or a set schedule to do just that.
Why shouldn’t student volunteering be required?
Sure, volunteering has a ton of benefits and carries a lot of weight in the world of higher education and fledgling careers. However, a lot of its influence is because it is just what it sounds like – completely voluntary. If all students do it because they have to, then it suddenly becomes meaningless as a marker for identifying exceptional students. It’s no longer about personal drive, but about educational requirements.
When you put your heart into something, it automatically becomes one of the best things you’ve ever done. This is also part of what makes volunteering so special, and also why it’s absolutely critical that volunteering is entirely your choice. If you’re being forced or compelled in any way, the fun and the passion drain out immediately. Students who want to volunteer are probably already doing it, or are waiting to hear the right opportunity for their interests. Mandatory volunteerism, therefore, will exclusively attract students who do not actually want to volunteer.
When volunteering truly is – as the name suggests – voluntary, the general public consider volunteers to have admirable qualities and a community conscience. The type of volunteering can indicate a lot about someone’s abilities and interests. Taking the choice out of the equation also removes this powerful intangible benefits.
In short, if high school students were required to volunteer then more might get done around the community, but the true value of volunteering would be entirely lost. There would be no reason to continue such activities after graduation, and the act would no longer benefit either the student or the organization for which he or she is volunteering.