Community service surpasses a graduation requirement

It’s a Friday afternoon, and I find myself driving down Orange Avenue. As I arrive to my destination, the Leon County Juvenile Detention Center, I am completely amazed at what I see.

There are more than 20 Florida A&M University students waiting in the lobby to mentor the center’s young men and women. That is quite an increase in volunteers from the group during the spring and early fall semester.

As I saw my fellow FAMU students demonstrating a sense of pride in and devotion to their community, I wondered how many other students participate in community service projects without the intention of gaining community service hours to satisfy a graduation or class requirement?

What have you done for the community lately?

Many people say you should do one good deed a day. And, in that good deed, you are not supposed to expect anything back because it is done out of the kindness of your heart.

There are numerous organizations on and off campus that are in need of student volunteers. And as an education student, I know the impact a mentor – or any positive person – can have on a young person.

According to, “Mentors help young people see the real-world applications of what they’re learning in school and gives them a sense of their purpose and value in the world. This helps focus a kid’s direction in school, provides them with valuable job skills and contacts, as well as helps get kids feeling good about themselves through positive interactions.”

Black students are the second highest of any other race to drop out of high school, according to Therefore it is imperative that college students show black students that they too have options.

Also noted by, three in 10 children live in a single parent home. In situations like these, young boys and girls need guidance and an outlet to release pressures, problems and personal experiences.

But in this quest for mentoring and trying to give back to the community, you should not leave out the teens and children that have both parents at home. These children too may feel the need to have that connection with another caring adult to help give them that extra push toward success.

As a mentor and lover of community service, I know how rewarding giving back to the community can be. Although I have yet to actually document my hours, an action that I feel defeats the whole purpose of community service, I feel that just giving my time to others is a reward in itself.

I can’t express how important it is for us to give back to our communities, especially to the children.

The children are our future, and it would be to your best interest to be a part of shaping the hearts and minds of today’s youth.

Try giving back. You might just fall in love with it.

Katrelle Simmons is a junior English education student from Orlando. She can be reached at