required community service - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 23 Old 09-05-2010, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
mamaofthree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,346
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
how do you feel about this?

part of me feels like it is a good idea, get teens thinking about the wider world.
at dd's old high school they did this, she volunteered at a youth writing project that organized workshops etc. she really loved it. she had 23 hours of the 35 she needed for graduation.
we have since moved across the country and her new high school is just starting this this year. she is in 11th grade this year. 12th graders do not have to do it, just 9-11 this year. when she has talked to them about her previous stuff they don't want to count it because they want all 35 hours at one place. plus they have a list and you can only do stuff from that list.
this is what i do not like. how can you inspire people to want to be helpful and then only give them a handful of places that you think are ok to volunteer with. what if she wanted to work with food not bombs instead of a christian church food bank? both feed the hungry.. but one is OK and one isn't. each one will speak to a different person.
plus i am a bit irritated that she can't use her other place for some of her hours. since 9th graders have 4 years to get 35 hours, but she has to get 35 hours in 2 years. not that that will be hard for her, but it just rubs me the wrong way.

h

mama to 6 amazing children joy.gif married to my main man for 21 years love.gif and finally home FULL time dishes.gifhang.gifknit.gif

mamaofthree is offline  
#2 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 12:00 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,518
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaofthree View Post
we have since moved across the country and her new high school is just starting this this year. she is in 11th grade this year. 12th graders do not have to do it, just 9-11 this year. when she has talked to them about her previous stuff they don't want to count it because they want all 35 hours at one place. plus they have a list and you can only do stuff from that list.
I'd request in writing that the count her previous service. You'all just moved.

I don't think that public schools should require service because I think it goes beyond their scope.

My kids currently attend a private school that requires community service every year, but they have a bunch of different projects and kids can pick and choose. The kids can do a bunch of different things, or all their hours in one thing. It's VERY mellow. It's more of a "there are things you can do to make a difference in the world, there must be something out there you would like" kind of thing.

What you are describing just sounds like a hoop to jump through.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#3 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 01:34 AM
 
34me's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,473
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My kids attend a public school and they are required to do community service starting in 7th grade. However, it can be anything the kids are interested in that has "an agency" so they can sign the paper work. Because they were young when they started I helped them to find things they could do that allowed 12 yo people to volunteer so we volunteered for Special Olympics as a family. We have now been doing it for 5 years and they love to do the event, but no longer count it. My ds has done work with his hockey organization, my dd has worked with kids. Even my 11 year old has helped out in rec programs for kids with special needs. I don't have any problems with it and I support it, BUT the kids can do it anywhere (and even count summer volunteering if they have a rigorous academic/athletic schedule that makes it hard to get the hours in during the school year).

I am against your dd having to do all 35 hours in the two years if she already has a history of volunteering. A letter from the previous agency should be enough.
34me is offline  
#4 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 10:28 AM
 
eepster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: growing in the Garden State ............
Posts: 9,510
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaofthree View Post
what if she wanted to work with food not bombs instead of a christian church food bank? both feed the hungry.. but one is OK and one isn't.
If the list of approved charities includes religious organizations, then it strikes me as a major violation of separation of church and state. Even if they do provide some secular possibilities, it is still steering students who might have been more inclined towards other charities, either secular or of a different religious faith, to the approved faiths.


In general, I think it is a bad idea.

To begin with, teenagers aren't free slave labor. It makes assumptions that they have the luxury of spare time in which they must give away, without compensation beyond a highschool diploma. There are teenagers who work for money. While for many teens that is just a summerjob for spending cash, there are plenty who actually need to work. Some are using the minimum wage that they get for a few hours each day after school to save up to pay for college (scholarships and loans rarely cover books and other similar expenses.) Some are even using it to put towards their families house hold budgets. So those 35 hours of free community service cost the teen 35 hours of wages s/he could have earned.

Putting the entire population of highschool students at the disposal of charities takes jobs from people who might need them a whole lot more. While there is a clear place for volunteer work in the world, there are times when volunteers are taking away jobs from someone who could use that salary to feed his/her family. I think this is especially true if in the case where there is a short list of places where the student body is allowed to put in their hours. The Charities on that shortlist don't need to have to worry about staffing ever, they have virtually guarantied supply of fresh labor. The insisting that all 35 hours are put in at a single location just makes sure that the labor is reliable too, no matter how disillusioned or maltreated the labor force is.

Unhappy teens doing time, may end up costing a charity more than they profit the charity. Taking on a volunteer means the charity needs to track hours, fill out paperwork, be insured in case the volunteer is injured, sometimes they provide t-shirts, etc, all this cost the charity time, energy and sometimes money.

Most of all, doing time is just kind of outside the whole spirit of volunteer work. It turns it into a chore (in a similar way to the reading logs that suck all the fun out of sitting with a good book.) It takes away the opportunity to give those hours away with an open heart. It just stops being volunteering or service and makes it a really bad paying job.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
eepster is offline  
#5 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 10:43 AM
 
karne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 3,623
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
OP, I would also wish that your dd's school would count her prior volunteer hours. She has invested herself in the work, so it seems only right that her school acknolwledge and credit her for that. It seems unnecessarily rigid not to.

I love the volunteer requirement our middle school and hs have. The commitment to volunteerism is strong generally, around us, and the community welcomes the service of the kids. I can tell you that my preteen has gotten far more out of being a volunteer than we ever expected. I hear the concerns about older kids being seen as free labor, but another twist on that idea is that volunteer work is often helpful for a youngperson's resume or college application. Low level jobs are hard to come by here because of the sinking economy, so volunteer work provides a place where job skills can be practiced, mentors found, interests explored, etc. Of course, that won't be everyone's experience, but just throwing it out there as a potential positive for older teens.
karne is offline  
#6 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 11:50 AM
 
Emmeline II's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 8,831
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
They may not want to count it but I would insist on it and carry it up the chain; it is an unfair burden to make transfer students redo volunteer hours. I would get a letter from the organization she worked for.

My dh had to do a service unit for his community college; though he wasn't thrilled with the obligation it was an enlightening experience for him.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
Emmeline II is offline  
#7 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 11:56 AM
 
ollyoxenfree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,928
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I suspect that if there is a limited list of approved community services, it's for legal and economic reasons. The school probably wants to ensure students work with groups that provide appropriate supervision, health and safety checks, even criminal background checks of their employees and other volunteers who will be in contact with students etc. etc. to minimize liability concerns. They have developed a list that satisfies these concerns. Schools don't have a lot of human resources to look into every possible volunteer group. So it's not economically feasible for them to approve every community service.

The restrictions may have arisen from concerned parent groups, possibly from previous bad experiences. There may be school board policies in place that don't allow the school much flexibility in creating the list of approved agencies.

I don't have a problem with volunteer requirements for school. It's important to foster positive community interactions. Like many things, I think volunteerism is best encouraged by parents, who should be modeling volunteering themselves. That doesn't always happen though.

We've had experience with a couple of school systems that have volunteer requirements. One system required a minimum number of hours that could be collected over a period of years before graduation - or all at once. Another scheduled one term of one high school year for community service experience - for one week, the student is placed with a community organization, and attends Mon. to Fri. for a full workday every day.

Both systems worked well, and my kids are enjoying their community volunteer hours. I agree with karne that there are a lot of positives that go along with volunteer work.
ollyoxenfree is offline  
#8 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 11:56 AM
 
MamaJenese's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Cambridge MA
Posts: 1,651
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I feel like making her repeat the volunteer hours would be like making her take freshan english again. If it is documented by the previous school and completed to thier satisfation it should be accepted just as any other class at the new school.

Jenese Mama to Elliot 8/05 and Millie Jane 7/07 and Cecilia Kate 1/11
MamaJenese is offline  
#9 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 12:11 PM
 
ollyoxenfree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,928
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
As for repeating volunteer hours (I missed that earlier), I would definitely talk to them about it. It's seems a shame that they won't transfer her hours, if that's what she really wants. Hopefully the school will find some common sense.

Is there a reason for 35 hours with a single organization? Are the students learning about different aspects of organizations, service delivery, different areas of work, etc.? These are the sorts of things DS learned in his week-long service learning placement (which would have amounted to 35 volunteer hours).

We didn't even try to transfer DS's community hours from one school to the next. For one thing, they were in a different country. For another, I think it's important that students be involved in community service, and doing it in conjunction with the school just makes it easier. It's nice to develop a volunteer "habit".
ollyoxenfree is offline  
#10 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 12:50 PM
 
Rose-Roget's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,500
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In general, I like the idea. I see nothing wrong with teaching kids to care about something outside of themselves.

Your new school seems to have lost sight of the big picture, however. Requiring all of the time at one place and only from a list of approved volunteer places is silly. How does a person explore areas of interest where they think the could do the most good, in the long run? What exactly do they site as their reasons for their policy?

I'd request in writing why her hours should be accepted. You just moved there.
Rose-Roget is offline  
#11 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 12:51 PM
 
CarrieMF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Alberta/Saskatchewan
Posts: 8,930
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
I suspect that if there is a limited list of approved community services, it's for legal and economic reasons.
or they are organizations that the class/grades picked out.

Is this volunteering done during class time? If so I can see why they don't want to count the previous volunteering, your dd would either still have to go as part of the class or someone would have to be around for supervision of her.

If it's on their own time, then definitly push for her previous volunteering to be counted.
CarrieMF is offline  
#12 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 02:29 PM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,518
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
It makes assumptions that they have the luxury of spare time in which they must give away, without compensation beyond a highschool diploma.
Most the teens I know are super, super busy. They are VERY pressured as it is.

Quote:
Unhappy teens doing time, may end up costing a charity more than they profit the charity.
This. A swim program that my kids were in when they were small had some "volunteers" doing time. We were all SOOOO glad when they go their hours in and left and we went back to the 2 teens who actually wanted to be there.

I'm all for volunteering, but as soon as it is a requirement, it's not volunteering anymore.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#13 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 04:36 PM
 
Irishmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the bat cave with heartmama
Posts: 46,976
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
It makes assumptions that they have the luxury of spare time in which they must give away, without compensation beyond a highschool diploma.
Here, it's 40 hours. They have 4 years to do it. That's less than an hour a week, not a huge deal.

However. I think it's awful. A friend of dd's got hers working at a for profit pet shop (and I'm sure we all know where they get their animals). I don't think it makes kids continue to volunteer afterwards, if they weren't into it before.

Dd is working every day this weekend for 19 of her hours. She's exhausted.
Irishmommy is offline  
#14 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 08:54 PM
 
SunshineJ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: In transition
Posts: 1,837
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've never heard of a school system requiring volunteer service from it's students, other than in a punitive way (you spray painted the school wall, you work xx hours on the grounds to compensate type things). I definitely think students should be strongly encouraged to volunteer in areas in which they are interested. I disagree that it should be a requirement however, and agree that the schools are overstepping their boundries. Again.

Regardless, it is a requirement at your DD's school, and one that you knew about so I'm going to assume it's not an issue you disagree with (or at least not willing to battle an entire district about!). She absolutely should have her previous volunteer time counted. This would not be something I'd ask about or try to see if they would do, this is one of those that I would be taking a signed copy of her hours in and basically informing them of the hours she has left to complete. If I ran into trouble with that, I would continue to escalate it until those hours were accepted. In your dd's case, she has 2 years left, but what about a student that transferred during winter break their senior year? Good luck!
SunshineJ is offline  
#15 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 09:12 PM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it is an abominable idea, and I would make a royal stink. It's one more example of the school trying to intrude on family matters that do not concern them. I think the school should worry about teaching the disciplines. They have a hard enough time doing that. I'll handle dealing with instilling values in my children.

And forcing kids to do "volunteer work" is coercive, hypocritical and counterproductive.
EFmom is offline  
#16 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 11:26 PM
 
Irishmommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: In the bat cave with heartmama
Posts: 46,976
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It's not a school/school board thing here, it's government mandated.
Irishmommy is offline  
#17 of 23 Old 09-06-2010, 11:57 PM
 
VisionaryMom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,856
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
Unhappy teens doing time, may end up costing a charity more than they profit the charity. Taking on a volunteer means the charity needs to track hours, fill out paperwork, be insured in case the volunteer is injured, sometimes they provide t-shirts, etc, all this cost the charity time, energy and sometimes money.
Plus have you worked with teens who don't want to be where they are? Our local high schools all have volunteer requirements, and I've worked with a number of grumpy teens. It's horrible. I've seen volunteer coordinators ask them to leave twice - one for just being a complainer to the point of distraction and the other time for not paying attention to the job at hand and causing problems. So I really dislike required community service.

OP, I would make a big deal of not accepting her previous hours & of the approved list. I don't think it's legitimate to say "you must volunteer. Service is important but only if it is for these organizations."

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
VisionaryMom is offline  
#18 of 23 Old 09-07-2010, 12:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
mamaofthree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,346
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
actual we didn't know this school had one, we just got an email this last week saying they were doing this starting this coming tuesday (the kids will get all the paper work) dd found out about it last week in government class and asked if her previous hours were transferable. her teacher said no.

the thing is, she LOVED the work she did before, it didn't feel like a burden. the kids picked out a organization they liked and the school approved it.
she worked in the community at a center that worked with underprivileged kids who were interested in writing. for her it is her passion and she was able to get out there and work in the community with it.

as a general rule i usually don't have an issue with this, BUT i feel like maybe they are setting this up in a weird sort of way. the way her previous school did it made more sense to me. if the kid already has a passion, why not let them follow that. i have not yet seen the list so i have no idea what exactly is on it, it just bothered me that the students can't pick what inspires them. that is how we do it in this house.

i will have to see what exactly happens at the assembly tomorrow and see what i am going to have to do after that.

h

mama to 6 amazing children joy.gif married to my main man for 21 years love.gif and finally home FULL time dishes.gifhang.gifknit.gif

mamaofthree is offline  
#19 of 23 Old 09-07-2010, 07:39 AM
 
EFmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 8,103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
It's not a school/school board thing here, it's government mandated.
My sister teaches in a state like that. It's not like there aren't genuine problems to be solved. You'd think the legislature could find something productive to do with their time other than come up with this garbage.
EFmom is offline  
#20 of 23 Old 09-07-2010, 10:41 AM
 
Linda on the move's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: basking in the sunshine
Posts: 10,518
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaofthree View Post
as a general rule i usually don't have an issue with this, BUT i feel like maybe they are setting this up in a weird sort of way. the way her previous school did it made more sense to me.
I can see why you feel that way.

I'm not a fan of required service, but my kids attend a school with required community service and I really like the way the school handles it. It's done in a very positive, expanding way. What you are describing sounds very negative and limiting.

Parents at my kids' school are also required to volunteer a certain number of hours at the school, which is something I'm OK with in a private school but not a public one.

Is your DD at a private school or a public school? (just curious)

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

Linda on the move is online now  
#21 of 23 Old 09-07-2010, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
mamaofthree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,346
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
it is a public charter school, so they get government funding but can do a few things differently... the focus of this school is arts (although the students must meet all state mandated academic standards and take the AIMS test for graduation). the student body at the charter schools is smaller, instead of 1500-2000 students like the 6 local high schools, her school has 275. she went to a big school back in maine, but really loves the smaller schools (before we moved to maine she went to a charter school in tucson with a small student body... they also had a community service thing, in fact they focused alot on community building, she loved that. they did all sorts of good works in the community.)
it is just the way they are making it sound at this school. i will have to see when dd brings home all the paper work.

h

mama to 6 amazing children joy.gif married to my main man for 21 years love.gif and finally home FULL time dishes.gifhang.gifknit.gif

mamaofthree is offline  
#22 of 23 Old 09-07-2010, 04:41 PM
 
eepster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: growing in the Garden State ............
Posts: 9,510
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaofthree View Post
it is a public charter school, so they get government funding but can do a few things differently
This part actually changes my view on the community service requirement somewhat. One chooses a charter school, so if a student isn't able or willing to do the service requirement, they could just go to the public school instead. I still don't think it is great and wonderful, but I don't have the very strong feelings I do about it in a public school. Here it is required by the public school, which is the only option available if you can't afford thousands of dollars to send you DC to a private school.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
eepster is offline  
#23 of 23 Old 09-07-2010, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
mamaofthree's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 4,346
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
no, i think the public schools also require it, just every school can set it up differently.
and although she COULD switch, i don't really think she wants to just because of this thing. she loves the school... except this one part, which may be more flexible i will have to find out when i pick her up today what the whole deal is. it could be that just her government teacher said NO without actually knowing what was and was not OK. if it is an issue i will fight it.

h

mama to 6 amazing children joy.gif married to my main man for 21 years love.gif and finally home FULL time dishes.gifhang.gifknit.gif

mamaofthree is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off