So let me first give you some insight as to how this requirement came to be. President George W. Bush introduced a new recognition program to our country during his State of The Union Address in 2001 entitled, The President's Volunteer Service Award. This program was originally created to honor men and woman across our country who have volunteered hundreds, if not thousands of volunteer hours over their lifetime. After 9/11 President Bush saw the need to renew national interest in volunteering by asking all Americans to help their neighbors by volunteering their time, money and talents. This initiative by President Bush trickled down to cities, towns and then eventually schools. Soon, all high schools required their graduates to complete mandatory community service hours for graduation.
So, there we have how it all started, now let's discuss how you can get the most out of your community service endeavors. I believe that when you volunteer in your community you are 'stepping outside' of yourself for a brief moment and you are focused on the needs of others. This kind of selfless service will increase your social awareness and allow you to see and work alongside people from many walks of life, and possibly cause you to wrestle with the questions of power and privilege. It also puts you in contact with other volunteers who may be more socially conscience and possibly create in you a larger 'world view'.
Community service does not offer you (monetary) payment but it does offer you an opportunity to have priceless life experiences. Participating in community service may lead you into a career path that you may not have chosen if it wasn't for your volunteer experience. Research has shown that teenagers who are involved with community service tend to be more civic and socially minded people as they grow older.
But keep in mind one important thing about service. Altruism can be a very tricky thing. You must keep your motivations in check by asking yourself, "Am I helping you for your sake, or because it makes me feel generous"? Be careful that your good deeds in life go unseen at times so that you know you are truly doing good for the sake of others, not for the world to see and praise you.
I feel that teaching is a very altruistic career that is self-sacrificing. I will never become rich with this career and yet when I check my heart I know that what I do is not for monetary gain, but a way of making an impact on young lives and in turn making my community a better place and then ultimately my country.
We will continue this discussion in the days to come. I will tell you all about my many experiences volunteering in my life and how those experiences changed my world view. Contemplate my words tonight. All my love, Ms. B.