Some MHS students are taking the opportunity to fill their resumes while they fulfill the needs of others.
Volunteering, defined as “freely offering to do something,” according to dictionary.com, requires that the student in question does work without accepting money in return. However, many students still set out to volunteer with objectives and motives in mind, primarily pertaining to meeting hour quotas and build resumes for college. Many schools have graduation requirements listing a minimum amount of volunteer hours as set standards, as do several clubs in Mason High School. Teenagers flock to volunteer events with little motivation and a desire to fulfill their duties and then depart. This has overlooked effects on the environment for those who choose to volunteer without seeking out a means to meet requirements.
Senior Chris Allgor said he detests volunteering to meet a quota because of the message that hour quotas send.
“I hate having to ask someone (to fill out a paper) for hours,” Allgor said. “Personally, I feel like it’s just the opposite of why you’re doing this. It sends the message to them that I’m just doing this for a number, not for this kid or this organization or because I want to. I really like it more when I can volunteer without needing to reach a certain (quota).”
Allgor said he primarily volunteers because of the thankful people he meets, and the selfless people he gets to work with.
“There’s a community in community service,” Allgor said. “Last year I did Whiz Kids, what happens with them is you get assigned to a kid, and then you get to build a relationship with him, which makes it more impactful, what you’re doing. It’s cool to watch other people grow through something you’re both doing.”
Senior Annie Metzger has been volunteering for several years with her church, and recently went on a mission trip to Mexico. She feels there is a selfish mentality that’s tied into students who volunteer without having a passion for it.
“Everybody has this selfish mentality like ‘I need to look better so I can get to here,’” Metzger said. “But some people can get past that and start to care about what it is they’re doing. Other people think one time was enough and walk away and think they’re better, but they haven’t changed.”
Metzger said it’s gotten to the point where event advisers assume teenagers aren’t there to help anymore.
“Especially going to Hands Against Hunger and Matthew 25, it’s always ‘do I have to sign anything,’ or ‘is there a paper I have to fill out,’” Metzger said. “It’s really sad, because they just don’t expect anything from our age group anymore. They’ve just lost faith in us.”
Senior Natalee Jobert, a member of National Honors Society, said she has volunteered for events multiple times to meet hour quotas, and does not think it has as much of a negative effect.
“You’re still working, and you’re still putting in the time, so I don’t see the difference,” Jobert said. “Like, it’s one thing if you’re working on your phone the entire time, but if you’re putting in the effort then you’re still helping. At some point you have to recognize that it’s just as much of an accomplishment if you get a paper signed, or if you heard about an event and went to it because your club told you about it. Like, your hands are just as dirty as everyone else’s. We don’t get to cut any corners because we’re part of this club, and no one else gets a magical advantage because they aren’t.”
Junior Soumya Jaiswal has been volunteering for the past two years since moving to Mason, and said that while the current viewpoint on volunteering is unfortunate.
“I’m sure a lot of people (in NHS) do volunteer for hours and hours only,” Jaiswal said. “And I definitely think you’re not taking the right message of your actions when you volunteer like that, because it’s to help someone, and if you’re primary goal isn’t to help them, but to help you, then you’re not really volunteering.”
As much as Jaiswal doesn’t approve of the actions, she does not believe there’s anything inherently wrong with them, as that was how she originally started. She believes obligated volunteering is a step on the way to willing volunteering.
“At first I went to this event through a club to get attendance points,” Jaiswal said. “But I ended up enjoying the experience so much, and it changed my view on the whole idea of volunteering. It just, ‘fun’ isn’t even the right word, it was so fulfilling to be there doing that.”