Community Service/Forced To Do Good

Lindsey Bell Staff Writer Community service. For most, the words summon powerful and uplifting thoughts. For Latin underclassmen, the words summon dreadful and scary ones. This year, Latin’s community service program for underclassmen underwent a change in procedure. Instead of counting the number of events a student has attended, the new rule counts the number of hours a student accumulates over the course of a year. Freshmen must complete ten hours of service and sophomores are to complete twenty hours in order to graduate. If, for some reason, a sophomore was unable to fulfill the previous years’ requirements, he or she must complete twenty-eight hours of service. In theory, this threshold could be easily reached by spending two hours per week, for fourteen weeks, at places like a senior citizen home, Misercordia, or a local church. Why then, did so many parents receive a letter saying that their child is “in danger of not completing his/her service requirements,” and that if their child did not meet these requirements by the end of June, he/she would be placed on academic probation the following year. Maybe it’s because sleeping in on Saturdays is more appealing then giving back to the community. Or maybe it’s because there simply isn’t enough time for some people to squeeze service hours in between soccer and tutoring. Or maybe it’s because by the time you finally got around to signing up on RomanNet, it was already full and it was just too difficult to set something up outside of a Latin organized project. Here’s what a few people had to say about the tribulations of the new community service standards: “Its too many hours, and such hard work, and Latin students have [stuff] to do and they don’t understand that twenty hours is a [big] load, and there’s so many freakin’ hours!” Kristina Harris ‘12 “I play three sports, and it takes up time on the weekends and all week so because of sports there’s not a chance. Believe it or not, I’m a smart kid, and I study all day Sunday, but I lack motivation go find a place to complete my hours. I skipped the service fair to go to the hawks game with Kyle, which, in retrospect, was a mistake.” Tom Cox ‘12 So yes, after working hard all week, staying up until one in the morning finishing that English paper or cramming for that math test, it does seem inconvenient to have to wake up early on a Saturday morning and donate a few hours to service, especially when sometimes, the effects of our donated time aren’t always immediately apparent. But it seems that it is common tradition for many Latin students to spend their summers volunteering in far away 3rd world countries. So how come students can’t translate that same ambition to work within the Chicago-land community? We focus so much on how we can help people in other countries that we forget that it is also our responsibility to help the people in our very own community. It is just as important to educate a child in another country, as it is to educate a child down the street. As a student body, we need to take the initiative to make the time to give back to our community that has given us so much. The amount of hours shouldn’t be the driving force behind doing community service. Service should be a way of life.]]>