Serving the Greater Good

Community service is a vital part of everyday society whether we know it or not. Merriam Webster defines community service as: “work that is done without pay to help people in a community.” These selfless acts impact the lives of many, facing various obstacles such as hunger, low income, and communities that are disproportionately affected by stereotypes to name a few of these issues. While many high schoolers perform acts of service for scholarships or as an obligation to a club or organization, many don’t realize the impact they have on the lives of those they served that day and how truly grateful they are for what these high schoolers do.

The Blue And White spoke with Apopka High School College and Career specialist, Kristina Roberts, about the importance of community service hours to high schoolers and about where they can find opportunities. We began by asking why colleges and scholarship opportunities require some form of community service time to which Roberts told us, “I think colleges and scholarships like to see that students are giving back to their community.  Students who have an interest in helping the less fortunate and volunteering their time are important aspects for colleges and scholarships to consider.” As the last twelve months have taught us, we live in a changing world and are constantly adapting because of this dreadful pandemic. Community service opportunities have also changed due to COVID, “The community service opportunities can be more limited in some ways.  In other ways, COVID 19 may have increased some opportunities, such as food drives.  Students will want to consider their level of comfort being around other people during this time when they look for community service.” As for opportunities currently available, Roberts said you can find them in just a few clicks “We post all of the opportunities that we know about on our website under Community Service under Student tab. The community service form is also on this link.  Student will want to review the form before choosing a community service site to make sure that it will qualify.  Counselor pre-approval is required.  This is so a student does not complete a lot of hours through an agency only to find out later that it does not meet the requirements of community service, especially for Bright Futures.”

As unsurprising as it may sound, there are still seniors who are still trying to earn hours for various reasons. Mrs. Roberts wants them to know the following: “Start seeking out opportunities right away. If unsure where to start, check out our website for potential opportunities.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to non-profits and ask how you can start volunteering. If a student is hoping to qualify for Bright Futures, all hours must be completed and entered into Skyward by graduation.” As for underclassmen who are thinking that they don’t want to procrastinate, Roberts gave them this bit of advice: “Start working on your community service hours as early as possible (freshman year).  Be sure to have your community service form pre-approved by your counselor.  Log your hours carefully and turn your form in each year (at a minimum).  Students often complete community service hours, but never keep track of them or lose the form.  Find community service opportunities that relate to your potential major or career interest.  Consistently volunteering at the same organization is going to be looked on more favorably by colleges than a random list of community service hours.  Do not wait until senior year to start completing your community service!”

Just to touch on some opportunities available in the near future. You can volunteer at the 2nd annual Bahia Shriners 5K Camel Walk/Run this coming Saturday, March 13. Teens United is a way for teens and young adults to find ways to be involved in their community for the betterment of that community. The Apopka Youth Council teaches high schoolers the inner workings of our local government as well as identifying ways to improve the Apopka community for its youth. You can find more information about these opportunities and find more opportunities at:

Another great community opportunity is the Interact Club. They provide numerous opportunities for community service.

In short, taking advantage of these opportunities is vitally important, not only for you the student, but for those in our community who benefit from it. You may not know it but you may have made their day, if not week by helping them out.