Tricounty News

Generosity related to community service

By Kiza Olson

Meeker 4-H coordinator

Youth need to feel their lives have meaning and purpose. Learning a sense of sharing, giving or generosity is a part of feeling lives meaning and purpose. How do you give that to yourself? Maybe you volunteer time to baby-sit, help with chores or give a back rub. Does your family share the value of giving back to the community and do they act upon it?

Community service refers to service that a person performs for the benefit of their local community. Community service that engages youth is often referred to as youth service. People become involved in community service for a range of reasons. Interestingly, a research study showed 85 percent of the time students who maintained a weekly community service record are more likely to succeed and have a higher grade point average than those who do none at all!

By exploring community service and citizenship activities, youth can connect to communities and learn to give back to others. Several experts attest to the necessity of engaging youth in deliberating, planning, implementing and reflecting on their community service. Thereby sustaining high quality service learning. Here are some suggestions on youth engagement in projects:

• Adopt a specific service project that fits interests and abilities and meets a community need.

• Arrange tours to local sites and opportunities to get involved (i.e. food shelf).

• Encourage youth to consider the feelings of others (discuss it afterwards).

• Set up mentoring opportunities where youth learn from others.

It's clear that these experiences provide the foundation that helps us understand the "big picture" of life and find purpose and meaning.

Examples of community service project include (but are not limited to):

• Cleaning a park.

• Collecting much needed items (food or clothing for people in need).

• Getting involved in Habitat for Humanity.

• Reading for nursing home residents.

• Help out at local community sites, i.e. volunteer at historical society or library.

• Tutor younger youth.

Youth learning and experiencing the act of giving back to the community is an important aspect of youth developing into strong citizens.