Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What does volunteering have to do with college?

Um....I don't think a lot. But apparently our fearless leaders do. (warning: Sailor-like language)
Now before I get all sorts of angry comments, I'm not against volunteering. Volunteers do great things. I volunteer at church, for Lifeline of Ohio, etc. The world needs volunteers.
That said--the genesis of volunteering is that you are doing it freely. You do not expect tangible reward. You're doing it because it's important to you. Forcing kids to volunteer takes that entire angle away.
Second--why should volunteering have anything to do with college? College scholarships should be tied to one thing--grades. From the bill summary:
Puts young people onto a path of national service by establishing a Summer of Service program to provide $500 education awards for rising 6th-12th graders, a Semester of Service program for high school students to engage in service-learning, and Youth Empowerment Zones for secondary students and out-of-school youth. (um, what does THAT mean?)

From the link:
First, public or national service is profoundly un-American as a historical concept and comes always and everywhere slathered in the stink of trench warfare and rhetorical horses***. This is especially true when it is paid service even as those participating and spending your tax dollars luxuriate in the silky-smooth language of altruism. Which, last time I checked, was supposed to be free. Jesus rendered unto Caesar; he didn't ask for a block grant from Pontius Pilate in return. That Obama pushes national service and voluntarism even as he works to limit tax breaks for charitable giving that drives all sorts of philanthropy is a classic screw-you, my-way-or-the-highway move.

I'm not a bad person! Really! I just don't want my tax money going to pay volunteers. And I mean myself. I don't volunteer because I want money or recognition. I do it because I care about organ donation, I care about my church and the activities/events we provide. Things don't get done unless people step up. And really, I want people in my group that want to be there, not because they'll get paid if they show up, or will get high school credit, or whatever.

1 comment:

DocJAD said...

Personally, I think mandatory service is a great idea! In order to graduate from high school, I had to perform 100 service hours. 25 hours had to be directed towards the poor and vulnerable, 25 hours had to directly to the school, and 15 hours in your junior and senior year had to be served at the SAME Catholic Social Teaching site.

I would not have had the vast variety of experiences I did without the mandatory service. While I did not receive direct scholarship money for it, I know that it strengthened my applications. Today, I continue to volunteer for a number of organizations, some of which I would never have without the mandatory service.

The fact of the matter is that the government subsidizes many, many people's educations. Perhaps requiring them to give something back will inspire them to continue giving back after the monetary reward is over. If we are going to provide aid anyway, we might as well get something back for it.

Just a thought ... :)