With summer break coming up around the corner, now is a great time to think about how to plan time for community service activities. As one ninth-grader remarked, “I had a hard time finding ways to do community service due to COVID-19 limitations this year and I’m looking forward to doing more in the summer.” Another ninth grader commented, “Many places I was interested in volunteering either cut back on volunteers or sadly suspended the programs altogether. Before the pandemic started, I really wanted to be part of a program for teens at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option last summer but I hope other opportunities open up now with the newly available vaccines.”
Middle School and High School students are obligated to dedicate a certain amount of hours to community service. Middle school students have a different requirement each year, ranging from 12-20 hours. Every High School student must complete a total of 100 community service hours throughout grades 9-12 in order to fulfill graduation requirements.
One great community service opportunity is volunteering at Camp Simcha. Camp Simcha is a medically advised sleepaway summer camp for children with cancer, blood disorders, and chronic illnesses. This summer, at the JCC in Aventura, Chai Lifeline will be organizing a Camp Simcha Day Camp.
Camp Simcha is based in New York, and it has branched out to Miami in the form of a day camp this summer. Any High School student can apply. There are two sessions during which one can volunteer: the Boys Session from June 28th until July 1st, and the Girls Session from July 26th until July 29th. Camp Simcha’s day camp is a great opportunity to enjoy some summer fun while earning community service hours.
Kosher Food Bank
South Florida’s JCS Kosher Food Bank is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing kosher food to over 380 families in need and approximately 100 Holocaust survivors. The Kosher Food Bank offers numerous ways to volunteer and support its important cause, including donating kosher food and other items as well as organizing a food drive for them. For more information, please visit their website or give them a call.
Benefits of Community Service
Community Service is an incredible opportunity to give back to one’s community and learn along the way. Volunteering can be fun, meaningful, life-changing, and good for your health. Not only does volunteering benefit a cause, but it also offers countless personal benefits. Volunteering allows one to build up confidence, develop a network of people with similar values and passions, make lasting friendships, and valuable connections. Community service can also reduce depression and/or anxiety, and is correlated with improved physical health.
Life skills can also be learned and improved upon through community service. Volunteering is a great opportunity to take charge and enhance leadership skills. When volunteering, teamwork and cooperation are constant themes, and an invaluable skill to have throughout everyday life and one’s career. One can work together with their teammates for a common goal, and in the process work on their listening, cooperation, and social/interpersonal skills. Ultimately, summer is the best time to take advantage of community service hours with countless options to choose from. Students can support a great cause and enjoy the many benefits of giving at the same time!