Should MV have mandatory community service?


Hannah Copeland

The leadership class loads up the Adopt-a-Family gifts into a truck to deliver to the Salvation Army. in 2013. Projects like these help students see the importance of giving back.

What if every student at Monte Vista had to complete 10 hours of community service to graduate high school? If all 2,000 students committed to spending 10 hours out of four years to service that would be over 20,000 hours. Imagine how much could get done during these hours.

Many students feel pressure from their parents, teachers, and potential colleges to fill up their resume with as much as they possibly can, and this usually results it some type of community service. I’m not going to lie, I am one of these students. I was looking for some way to fill up my resume for college, and in attempts to fill up my application, I found my passion.

Last summer I was attending Danville Driving School, like most students at Monte Vista do. While walking up those steps every day for class I passed Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area. Glancing at that building every day as I walked up those stairs I never could have imagined what that building could do for me.

There’s an amazing quote at Down Syndrome Connection reading, “Children with special needs paint the world with beautiful colors everyday.” I have never read a quote more true.

I have the privilege of working once a week with a group of children from the ages of 16-21 who have Down Syndrome. We focus on a variety of different topics such as relationships and acceptable actions, and we always end the class with a wii dance party.

All of the students are just regular teenagers, they go to homecoming, go golfing with their families, and they also read some of the same books I do. These kids are more similar than they are different from any student at Monte Vista.

The class is the highlight of my week, and I am so thankful for it. The kids are so kind, and have taught me so many life lessons already. They have taught me the importance of patience, trust, respect, and friendship.

I began volunteering because I thought it would be fun, and look good on my college applications. After volunteering I have found a new love in working with kids with special needs, and hope to pursue it in college.

I found my passion in a very unexpected place. If one student at Monte Vista found theirs because of service these 10 hours would be worth it.

One student has the power to change the world, and if they are not exposed to a world of community service they may never find their passion, and their motivation to change the world.

According to usatoday, kids from the ages of 8-18 spend on average 44.5 hours a week in front of screens. That is about 7 hours a day in front of your phone, TV, computer, or any other electronic device.

If for one week, students at Monte Vista put down their electronics for 10 hours we could make a really positive change in our community. There are endless places that need volunteers year around. Habitat for Humanity, The American Red Cross, Reach Potential Movement, Citizen Schools, just to name a few.

10 hours out of 4 years is not a large time commitment, and who knows, students may find a love for community service that they never would have had before.

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” – Albert Schweitzer