School is about more than assignments and grades. One of the biggest pillars of student success and education is about learning how to function in a community. Investing in and helping out that community can set them up for success beyond the classroom, too.
There are countless reasons why community service is important for student success. These are just a few:
1. They learn to lead
In the school environment, students are asked to listen more than they talk. Conversely, students who participate in community service are called on to take charge of projects, to apply themselves. This puts them in touch with their own voice and gives them a sense of agency in their lives.
2. They build problem-solving techniques
Even the best program coordinators and volunteer recruiters know you can’t plan for everything. Once students are given training and instruction, how they navigate the particulars of a community service placement is up to them. These tangible lessons are often an exercise in how to adapt and use your best judgment.
3. They collaborate and connect
Perhaps the most enlightening and rewarding part of any student volunteer project is connecting with other members of the community. This is a rare opportunity to forge connections outside their school and family. They may work directly with a supervisor for the first time and even make some new pals in the process.
4. They have to manage their time
Between their scholastic demands, athletic commitments, and family obligations, students might feel strapped for time. Adding a volunteer placement to the mix will help them organize their schedules to prioritize what’s most important.
5. They develop communication skills
It’s essential that students cultivate ways to communicate with members outside their family or friend group. Better communication leads to better relationships across the board, including workplace relationships. Variety helps them refine their communication style so they can share their ideas and mitigate conflict.
6. Their perspective shifts
The world is a big place. It’s so much more than what’s contained within the school walls or the bounds of a neighborhood. Taking students out of their comfort zone gives them a chance to see how others live. It allows them to develop their empathy and helps them understand the difference one person can make in the life of another.
7. They apply lessons learned in the classroom
Classroom lessons in a particular subject might spark interest that leads them to a specific field. As they carry out tasks assigned with a community service role, they’re helping reinforce curriculum by applying it experientially. What better way to learn than by doing!
8. They improve their chances of getting into college
Finally, colleges expect a lot of their prospective students. Having the real-world experience of a volunteer shift under their belts helps them become more attractive applicants. Their participation in community service will also open up scholarship opportunities not available to the entire student body.
In the end, student success isn’t just about what they learn in the classroom. It’s about how they apply those lessons in the real world. Through community service, youth are guided and challenged to build lives of genuine meaning, purpose and service in the world they will inherit.