Service and Activism workshop series offers community service opportunities

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The Service and Activism workshop series, organized by Coordinator of Student Activities Sarah Loew, launched on November 23 and 24. The series consists of monthly sessions where students can learn about the opportunities available to serve their community and foster activism. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, community service hour requirements have been altered for the 2020-2021 school year.

“There are so many opportunities for students to develop skills through hands-on experiences outside the classroom,” said Ms. Loew. “In addition, our communities rely on the dedication of volunteers and activists to provide critical services now more than ever before.”  

The first sessions served as an introduction to community service and offered some clarification on the updated honor society requirements. At the meeting, students learned that the Townsend Harris Honor Certificate now requires a minimum of 20 hours per academic year, instead of 40; the Arista National Honor Society will now require a minimum of 25 hours per academic year, instead of 50; and the Archon Service Honor Society will now require a minimum of 40 hours per calendar year, instead of 80. The other requirements will remain the same, but there is now no limit to the number of in-school service hours that may be attained this year.

Freshmen, many of whom are navigating community service for the first time, found the sessions especially helpful. “I learned so much,” said freshman Hasana Abdullah. “The presentation, along with Ms. Loew explaining it in detail as she went through it, was really useful, so I think I was able to learn a lot more than if someone else had told me about it.” 

Junior Heather Bonilla commented, “I think the changes to the requirements this year are fair. It shows students that the administration realizes how finding community service opportunities and getting hours can be difficult at this time.” 

Freshman Wren Walston added, “I’m relieved that the community service requirement decreased. As someone who has never truly participated in community service, I was concerned with not getting enough hours, especially due to our current situation. These workshops help freshmen get a feel of what it would be like during a normal year and prepare us for next year, where we will hopefully get to be in person and help our community.”

Students also expressed appreciation for the Student Union’s efforts in organizing the event and being transparent with the student body. Wren said, “Their Instagram page is very informative as well as frequently giving opportunities for community service.” 

Hasana added, “I think perhaps compiling a list of remote opportunities and such that can be used for community service and such would be so much more helpful, but the SU and our admin have been incredibly helpful so far in supporting us students in all ways possible, so I’m really thankful we have such a strong backing to our student body to be able to help us throughout high school.”

Senior Class President Katie Hsu said, “The internship/volunteer document was made to ensure that students had a concise and updated list of opportunities in a variety of fields/interests. We hope students will use the document to explore passions and give back to the community at the same time. The SU knows the importance of having such a resource for students, especially in times of COVID-19. We understand that it can be hard to look for options that are ongoing, safe, and manageable.”

Future workshops will inform students more about the purpose of service and activism, finding summer service opportunities, how community service has changed due to these trying times, and how to use x2Vol (the platform THHS uses to record community service hours). The December Service and Activism Workshop will include student representatives from grades 10-12 sharing what they believe to be great service opportunities as well as their experiences.

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