By: Molly Vu, FCHS
Community service: It’s a term that makes most students groan, but it shouldn’t be perceived as a chore. Though community service hours are a requirement for graduation in FCPS, many students quickly find that volunteering is so much more than a task to complete for school. In fact, time spent giving back to the community can be some of the most valuable experiences one can have over the course of high school.
Students are required to perform community service for a number of reasons. It puts classroom ideas into perspective, so that things like civic responsibility are not just abstract concepts; students may see it as a way to relate what they have learned in school to the “real world.” It also teaches the importance of volunteerism and being an active member of society. While the words "community service" may conjure up images of yard work and similarly tedious jobs, there are plenty of other options. Hours can be earned working with the Salvation Army, battered women’s shelters, soup kitchens and elementary schools, among dozens of other locations.
But how does community service impact students beyond fulfilling a graduation requirement? For one, it improves their communication skills and gives them an opportunity to work with aspects of society that they might not have otherwise. But it also helps them realize how good it actually feels to give back to their community. Students are often surprised at how rewarding their experiences are, simply because of the gratitude they receive. That students are allowed to choose where they spend their hours certainly helps bridge the gap between community service and their own interests; for example, those who are passionate about animals often volunteer at animal shelters, while those who enjoy working with children can become camp counselors. What begins as fulfilling a requirement for school becomes so much more personal, and it is for this reason that many students continue doing volunteer work beyond high school.
(Students are welcome to serve their community service hours working with the Annandale Chamber of Commerce at events such as The Annandale Parade, The Hospital Bed Race, and National Night Out. Just contact the Chamber office at:
email@example.com for more information.)
Falls Church High School
7521 Jaguar Trail
Falls Church, VA 22044
(Students who reside on the north side of Annandale attend Falls Church High School)