To Students Who Are Struggling with Community Service

In order to graduate, one of the requirements is earning 20 hours of community service. Students are struggling to get their hours in.

Photo Credit: Ryan Sieng

Community service is work without profit, helping others in the community. When East Haven High School implemented this graduation requirement more than 10 years ago, students had to originally earn 40 hours of community service. Then, the school administration lowered it to 20 hours, and it still stands today. Many students do their community service hours just because they have to, but it also provides a great learning experience--academically and emotionally.

Participating in community service allows students to engage themselves in their community and become well-rounded individuals. EHHS Vice Principal, Mrs. Susan Harkins states, “It’s something that we can continue throughout our entire lives because it‘s all about helping others, and I think helping others is so important--helping others in need.” Students have the opportunity to experience the feeling of someone being genuinely appreciative of their hard work, which is something truly fulfilling.

In addition, community service provides students an opportunity to find their passion and explore career options. For example, students volunteering at a blood drive can learn that they are interested in pursuing a career in nursing.

EHHS Dean of Students, Mr. Mark Hughes recently started helping Mrs. Susan Harkins with community service. He suggested, “Start [community service] early. That would be the best advice I could give to anybody.” Starting hours early gives students an advantage: having various community service opportunities to choose from. Students implementing them at the last minute creates more obstacles. This does not give them many options to pick and choose from. Mr. Hughes continued, “You can bang out 5 hours in the course of one day and do one day a year for 4 years and get your 20 hours in. So it’s just about planning ahead and starting early.”

There are several community service opportunities currently available:

  • Write letters to soldiers (due 4/30 by 11:25am to Ms. Goraieb or Mrs. Marsico)

  • Pack boxes of donations and cards to send to the Connecticut National Guard Troops (4/30 at 12pm & need your own transportation home)

  • Assisting in the Tuttle Summer League (Saturday & Sunday at 10am-2pm at Grove J. Tuttle School, 108 Prospect Rd, East Haven, CT)

  • Food banks

  • East Haven Food Pantry

  • Animal shelters

  • Hospital volunteer

  • Church sponsored activities

  • Long-term care facilities

  • Whispering Pines Rehabilitation and Nursing Center

  • Laurel Woods

  • Town libraries

  • Hagaman Library

  • Tutoring

  • Filming school events

  • Community service reflection

For students who are online, there are online opportunities as well:

  • Write letters to soldiers (due 4/30 by 11:25am to Ms. Goraieb or Mrs. Marsico)

  • Letters For Rose

  • Create pamphlets/cards

  • Write book reviews of books in the EHHS library (Ms. Goraieb)

  • Research for a project

  • Community service reflection

EHHS Seniors who have not completed their community service hours yet were invited to a Google Classroom that contains creative community service opportunities. This classroom and community service hours completed is monitored by Mr. Hughes and Mrs. Harkins,

Students who are struggling to find community service opportunities or earning their hours should make sure that they check Google Classroom, PowerSchool, and the school’s community service bulletin board--which is located in the main office on the right--to stay updated on new opportunities as they arise. Students should also contact their guidance counselor and Mr. Hughes or Mrs. Harkins. For seniors, contacting Mr. Hughes is the best course of action because he provides the fastest path in getting hours done.

Having at least 50 to 75 community service hours is the ideal number for students who are planning to go into competitive work or school programs after school. The more, the better.

Juniors should have completed 15 hours of community service while seniors should have completed all 20 by the end of first semester of their senior year, or January. Around 25% of seniors have not completed their hours as of now, while the other 75% have. Usually around 50% of juniors would have completed their hours by senior year.