Updated: Jul 24
Helena from New Jersey (USA)
I propose that my public school system should embed a mandatory course for highschool students involving acts of community service.
Even though these times have been dark, I have honestly never seen so much kindness and gratitude from my community and the world altogether; which got me to think, why does it take something so publicized that directly affects us to see this much contribution?
Especially since tragedies are all around us daily: there are currently about 8,000 homeless people in the state of New Jersey, about 900,000 in New Jersey face hunger, and about 900,000 people live below the poverty line in New Jersey. These are just a few issues that countless people face daily. But why aren't they enough to gain the contribution we’ve all seen in these months?
It honestly all comes down to publicity that those things don’t receive and the fact that those other things don’t affect us directly. It has been almost 3 months now since we've been in quarantine. We unlock our phones and see COVID-19 news stories, we turn on our televisions and see COVID-19 news stories, we open our computer screens and see COVID-19 news stories. We genuinely cannot catch a break from it.
But I am not going to write this letter and call out the entire world for this without addressing my faults as well. I am completely guilty of this too. I recently donated groceries to a local nursing home in Ridgewood, but before that I had not contributed in a while. The last time I volunteered was in September when my dad, my good friend, and I took part in a Habitat For Humanity project; in which we took part in putting together houses for low-income families. I loved the experience and my friends and I have been attempting to start a club for Habitat in Ridgewood, which has been slow because of everything happening.
But my point is that this one experience was so impactful and more people should be able to take part in experiences like these. Like I mentioned before, this issue also includes the copious gratitude that has been expressed towards essential workers.
Gratitude needs to be expressed more often to all workers who play a part in our community. A simple thank you can change someone's day by making them feel acknowledged. Something needs to change.
I propose that the New Jersey Public School system should imbed a mandatory course for highschool students involving acts of community service. It does not have to include very complex services. Both kindness and gratitude come in abundant different manners and have no conventional price. The beauty of this is that anyone can express kindness and gratitude and we should do so more often!