Most importantly, students learn that the work they do can make a real impact in the world. By getting involved in community service at a young age, children also:
1. Develop a Richer Perspective of the World They Live In
Volunteering is an essential part of preparing students to “take responsibility as open minded, principled citizens in a global community.” While performing community service, children have the opportunity to see first-hand just how much their work can have an impact on the world. Many of our students at Harvest volunteer locally at food shelves, animal shelters, in retirement communities, and even at orphanages abroad. They get to interact with people who have vastly different backgrounds, and learn patience and empathy as they develop a global perspective.
2. Connect What They Learn in School to the Real World
Community service gives students an opportunity to explore academic interests through a real world lense. If a child is intrigued when he or she learns about recycling in school. We’ve found that when students connect what they’re learning in school to issues that actually matters in real life, they throw themselves into learning. Research also back this up. Studies show that students who give back to the community perform better in school, particularily in subjects such as math, reading, and history. Furthermore, students who participate in community service are also more likely to graduate from high school.
3. Get Ahead in the College Admissions Process
As admission to elite colleges and universities has become more competitive, volunteer experience can prove an advantage in the college admissions process. For that reason, many students start doing community service projects as they advance through high school. Students who begin earlier, however, have a distinct advantage because their breadth of experience allows them to quickly step up to leadership positions within organizations.