Community Service: Creating Purpose


Isabella Useche

Members of Key Club hold meeting on Monday to discuss upcoming events.

It’s 10th period and the classroom is packed. As you scan the room, you can see that it is overtaken by students of all grades, some seated, and others even willing to stand the entire time. Students at the very front of the room are informing the rowdy but amiable crowd to settle down as the meeting is  about to begin. Everyone at the Key Club meeting is united by one cause: Community Service. 

“I think the benefit is not just for college purposes, it’s to be able to give up your time and provide your time, energy, and support for people or activities that have nothing to do with personal benefit,” guidance counselor Ms. Shaw said. “It’s something that gives back to the community and others, which I think all students should be doing because it helps your own development.”

In addition to being a guidance counselor, Ms. Shaw is also an ARISTA adviser.  She further discussed the benefits of community service academically.

“Technically, students are not required to have community service hours in order to graduate,” Ms. Shaw said. “The reason we emphasize them is because it is important for college applications. They want to see that you participated in extracurriculars.”

“They see it on your application as you list it on your activities section,” Ms. Shaw added. “Food pantries, walks, tutoring, are things students spend their time on, to show you are doing things outside of school. Some kids may not like community service as much as they like clubs, it really depends on your interests.”

Key Club Treasurer Shyla Budhai shared her opinion on the club.  Her responsibilities include planning fundraisers and keeping track of membership dues.

“Everyone there joined because they want to do community service,” Budhai said, “so being around people that have the same ambitions as you is a positive thing, especially since this club is so big. It’s really nice to see the people who joined it.”

Club members have a variety of places where they can choose to volunteer and assist people in need. 

“Key Club has a list of charities that we can donate to, and we look at the list and we pick which one we think would be most beneficial to us,” Budhai added. “And now we’ve decided to do voting and polls based on what the people of Key Club would like to donate to as well.” 

Key Club is the largest club at Francis Lewis and contributes heavily to charities and fundraisers due to ambitious students that want to help others in need. Key Club is known for developing leadership and building students’ characters. 

“I had made a bowling fundraiser back in April and all the proceeds went to the Children’s Miracle Hospital,” Budhai said. “I think even though we are high school students, being able to fundraise for a charity like that is a very helpful thing.”

“I still think that everyone’s contribution to support the cause is a very good thing,” Budhai added.  “Especially since we’re so young. We’re still able to go out and do this.”

Key Club Secretary Joy Zhang claims that Key Club “widened her perspective on a lot of world wide things” and has had a beneficial impact on her by improving her leadership skills.

“It really gave me this chance, with not only helping my community but also being able to explore different locations,” Zhang said. “I can navigate and find myself in these positions, and basically feel really open, and be more involved and definitely having more knowledge in navigating in general everyday life.”

Junior Michael Ahn is an active member of Key Club which “deserves to be respected” due to the opportunities presented. He provided insight on his personal experience in being involved in charitable events.

“At the Hebrew Food Pantry, I helped personally with the distribution of foods to members of the community that needed it,” Ahn continued.  “I didn’t personally know any of them obviously, so a lot of it involved me being a part of almost an assembly thing, where I’d be in charge of – specifically the grains products, like rice, beans – a lot of things that lower income families could really utilize.”

“I’ve never stepped foot inside a food pantry before, but thanks to the outreach style of Key Club, I was able to participate in these really heartwarming events that I wouldn’t have otherwise,” Ahn added. “I’m just very grateful overall.”

Something Ahn learned from this experience was “the value of honest work,” and he was extremely glad overall that he was able to be part of this. 

“People do judge sometimes, but there is a form of integrity, honor that comes from helping others and using your own two hands to do something,” Ahn added.  “So using my own two hands to personally help people felt nice.”  

I think community service is a very valuable use of your time because nowadays with all the technology we have access to, we tend to just loiter around and prefer to spend our time on YouTube, social media,” Ahn added. “Taking your time and investing it in your community is a very noble and honest thing to do.”