To The Daily Sun,
Ms. Dunnavan doesn't seem to get it — probably because she home-schooled her own children. My generation was raised to be generous and giving. Before the age of computers and video games, kids were out of the house all the time. We had jobs in junior high because the state hadn't made it illegal yet to work a real job. We were part of a community. That just isn't so anymore. The community service requirement of many school districts across the entire country aims to get kids out of the house, out of their own heads, and away from not just studying but also from the distractions that grab ahold of many teenagers. It makes them INTERACT. It creates opportunity for dialogue with adults and employers and the elderly and the handicapped - not as a job that generates cash flow, but as an opportunity to be part of a community.
As a school board member for a number of years, parents and community leaders thanked us for making this a requirement. Kids were exposed to new experiences, possibilities, and opportunities. They discovered things that lit them up and generated spontaneous enthusiasm. This isn't about money — it's about COMMUNITY. We see enough selfishness, greed, and apathy in the world as it is. This can act as a deterrent to all of that.
So Ruth — did you ever encourage your children to work in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter? To dole out meals to the less fortunate on holidays? Pick up trash on a roadside? Because it sounds like in your world, altar boys should be paid cash money on Sundays, Little Leaguers should only play to a paying crowd, Boy Scouts should get cash for selling Christmas trees, and high schoolers should get a cut from every car wash they run. And if that is so, that is a sad world you subscribe to. My daughters both raised money and created care packages for children in Africa and never once asked, "What's in it for me?". Because if they had, it would have been the point of my shoe.
Pry the scales from your eyes, Ms. Dunnavan. The world is a better place with community service. And THAT you can take to the bank.