By Charlotte Lenes
Community service, as many people view it, is a source of good karma. However, as helpful as good karma may be, high school students need a little bit more than that. Many institutions of higher learning like to see a certain amount of community service on an applicant’s résumé. In recent years, the definition of well-rounded has grown to incorporate not only extra-curricular activities such as clubs and sports, but also a student’s impact on his or her community.
Andover High School is very fortunate to have an array of community service options to choose from. Many of these opportunities are suggested through the school itself. If students can’t find the time to explore these opportunities, simple internet searches for local outreach programs can yield substantial results. There will never be a shortage of need and, in a school of roughly 1,500 students, hopefully there won’t be a shortage of help either.
Volunteers are offered a variety of programs ranging from tutoring disadvantaged children to aiding the elderly and serving the homeless. The PALS program is one of Andover High School’s most popular outreach options. High school students are given the chance to tutor “exceptionally bright 7th and 8th grade students” at the Leonard School in Lawrence, according to a Community Service Club pamphlet. A similar program enlists the help of student-tutors at The Frost School, also in Lawrence. At this school, students tutor children with reading disabilities. This option is especially popular because it’s one of the most convenient opportunities for students. They are able to donate their free period to travel to the school and work with the children one-on-one.
Many students at the high school already have busy schedules crammed with sports and other events, and finding time to spare may be a challenge. However, the feeling of giving back is well worth it. In the end, a volunteer is rewarded with a sense of accomplishment as well as some community credit. Mr. Pellerin, head of the Andover High School Community Service club, is looking to expand the program to recruit more students in an effort to make a change.
When asked about the significance of community service, Mr. Pellerin said that serving one’s community was very important. When the high school began to offer more clubs, the number of students who were involved in community service programs began to dwindle. He hopes that in the future the program can be rebuilt with new students eager to lend a hand.
Mr. Pellerin also said that the tutoring programs at The Frost School and the PALS program have attracted the most students. Andover has made a significant impact on the lives of many of these children.
Mr. Pellerin also has a few ideas for volunteering options in Andover High School’s future. The idea is that students will be required to complete a certain number of hours, and receive school credit for those hours. Each program will be worth a quarter of a credit, and a student must acquire one credit of community service before graduation.
The value of community service may be underestimated at times, but the satisfaction of helping the elderly or less fortunate is more rewarding than any credit or academic perk associated with those hours. Getting involved in your community can benefit you and those around you.
Mr. Pellerin had the following to say about the program: “We have a wonderful group of students who meet every Tuesday after school. We are trying to create more experiences designed to bring the members of our community together for a good cause.”