Student Volunteers: The Benefits of Giving Back

“It’s therapeutic, it makes me feel good by helping others, and I learn a lot and have many different experiences because of it, like cleaning beaches around the world and working with animals,” said sophomore Sadie Smith about the merit of participating in community service. Due to a variety of studies that demonstrate the numerous benefits students receive from partaking in community service, WHS should join many schools across the nation in requiring community service hours from students in order to graduate.

Many schools that require community service hours to graduate give students until the end of their senior year to complete all their hours, meaning that students have flexibility in terms of choosing when to volunteer. If students know they will have a busy junior year or sports season, students can fill most of their hours during their underclassmen years and/or offseason. Not only does this schedule ensure that students can find the time that works best for them, but it also teaches them responsibility and the importance of time management. WHS students can easily learn these important skills if community service hours are required. 

There are many other benefits to community service. For example, according to, students who volunteer are at lower risk of involving themselves in risky behavior, such as substance abuse. In addition, states that community service strengthens a student’s academic abilities by enhancing their engagement and concentration skills. Therefore, the best thing WHS could do to help boost their student’s academic skills would be to require community service hours.

Students who volunteer also learn important social skills that will help them throughout their lives. Teen volunteers who help communities around them work with diverse groups of people. This is important because it helps students develop social awareness, and gain new perspectives. Students who volunteer also directly witness their positive impact, which helps them become more compassionate and empathetic, while also learning important leadership skills. 

Finally, there are so many mental health components that community service helps strengthen for student volunteers. For example, those who volunteer develop a sense of self satisfaction, confidence and increased self-esteem. Students who help others feel self accomplishment, which in turn has a positive impact on their own mental health. In addition, community service helps fight off depression and lowers stress levels by providing teen volunteers with a social outlet and support system. A Social Science and Medicine study shows that those who volunteer are more likely to be happy because of the pride they develop from volunteering. Thus, WHS could greatly help their students’ mental health by requiring community service hours.

WHS could start with a small number of hours to help students adapt to the new requirement, and ultimately choose how many hours to require. Whatever it is, I highly recommend that WHS require community service hours prior to high school graduation, so as to aid individuals and communities who need it, while also helping WHS students both academically and psychologically.