By: Nina Findley (Copy Editor)
There are many ways to get easy service hours, maybe by even doing something you enjoy. There are no service hour requirements to graduate high school. However, if you are interested in an academic scholarship, service hours are required. For example, the Bright Futures Academic Scholarship requires that a high school student complete a minimum of 100 community service hours and the Bright Futures Florida Medallion Scholarship requires 75 hours. Also, for the Bright Futures Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship, you must have 30 service hours, and the same for the Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholarship. National Honors Society here at Nease High School has a requirement of 40 service hours for Juniors and 50 service hours for Seniors. Once you are accepted, you are required to earn 25 service hours every year including 5 hours of tutoring. So, as you can see, National Honors Society is a very beneficial and effective way to get service hours. Another easy way is to join a club here at Nease. Many of our clubs provide services hours, including Interact and Insight.
There are also many local organizations that you can get involved in to volunteer and gain service hours. The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers that has helped people in need all around the world. “Volunteers constitute about 90 percent of the American Red Cross workforce” (American Red Cross). They have many opportunities for young people under the age of 24. You can join or start a Red Cross Club to become involved. There is also the National Youth Council to join and represent the 100,000 young Red Cross volunteers. Volunteers make it possible for the Red Cross to respond to as much global catastrophes as they do. There are mission trips sponsored by the American Red Cross that are open to new volunteers and friendly faces to help people during a hard time. You can also donate blood or money for service hours. Click here to visit American Red Cross.
Another local organization that offers service hours for the seniors at Nease is K9s for Warriors. K9s for Warriors helps warriors and rescue dogs that are heroes and have served in the military. It saves the lives of veterans struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disability. Many students are interested in dogs, so this would be a fun way to earn service hours for many people. They have many different volunteer options for people 18 years or older. You can be a kennel volunteer and have one on one interaction with dogs. This includes bathing and feeding the dogs, but you also get a chance to play with them! If you enjoy cooking you can also join Cooking for K9s, where you get to prepare meals for the warriors every night. Click here to visit K9s for Warriors.
Elementary and middle schools are another great place for high school students to volunteer and receive service hours. Teachers may need a variety of help from cutting out paper to working with the kids one on one. Many schools have special needs classrooms and students are able to volunteer in those classrooms as well. This kind of volunteering is very rewarding in the sense that you can see the smiles you put on the children’s faces. ESE (exceptional student education) paraprofessional at Timberlin Creek Elementary, Sherrie Findley, states “a student volunteer could come into my class and help the students with their work and physical needs. I know that a volunteer coming in would brighten up our kids’ day, they love having visitors and getting hugs. Some days the kids’ needs are more demanding than other days, so the extra hands are much appreciated.” Going to schools to volunteer is a great way to help out the community.
Earning service hours is important for students because it helps you develop skills, make contacts and improve the quality of life of others. It can also help shape your world view, guide your career path and encourage bonding with mentors. The Nease High School librarian, Mrs. Milian, says “We’re trying to make sure that our students are well rounded. That they are not only focusing on their academics but that they’re also focusing on helping out in their community. It is an important part of building up your character.” Volunteering can also improve your mood and lower your stress levels, you can change both your life and the life of someone else in your community.
Photo Credit: Nina Findley
Caption: National Honors Society offers tutoring every week for students who need help.