Youth Volunteerism

January 27, 2012 • Volume 22, Issue 4
Should schools require students to perform public service?
By Marcia Clemmitt


Corporation for National and Community Service that teaches youth (Corporation for National and Community Service)
Students check their net during a water-quality test in Charleston, S.C. The project was organized by Earth Force, a national organization sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service that teaches youth how to improve the environment. (Corporation for National and Community Service)

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Tulane University made volunteering for community projects in the ravaged city, such as restoring parks or tutoring grade-school students, a requirement for graduation. Since then, applications to Tulane have shot up. Schools and colleges nationwide have increased volunteer opportunities for students, and nearly 90 percent of colleges offer service-learning programs that tie class work with volunteer activities. Researchers see ample evidence that at least some service programs encourage students to participate in civic life as they grow older. Experts worry, however, that volunteer opportunities are far more prevalent for middle-class and affluent students than for those from low-income families. Meanwhile, many school districts continue to mull whether to require volunteer service for high school graduation. Courts have upheld the constitutionality of such requirements, but some students and parents resist them.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Youths and Work
Oct. 14, 2016  Apprenticeships
Mar. 14, 2014  Youth Unemployment
Jan. 27, 2012  Youth Volunteerism
Oct. 23, 1992  Youth Apprenticeships
Aug. 31, 1990  Teens Work to Balance School & Jobs
Jul. 12, 1961  Jobs for Young People
May 10, 1950  Employment of Young People
Dec. 23, 1940  Revival of Apprenticeship
Jan. 17, 1940  Work Programs for Young People
General Social Trends