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Essays About Community Service: Top 5 Examples Plus Prompts

If you are looking for your next writing topic, discover top examples of essays about community service and helpful writing prompts in our guide .

Community service refers to an individual or a group’s volunteer work dedicated to improving the community and its people. In America, Benjamin Franklin introduced community service in the 18th century by developing the idea of ​​the first volunteer firehouse in Philadelphia . Since then, stepping up has become a norm, with more people encouraged to participate.

Volunteering helps individuals gain experience , improve self-esteem, expand knowledge, and promote healthy goals. In addition, choosing community service as a topic in your essay allows you to explain its significance to entice your readers to get involved. To give you an idea of ​​how to write essays about community service , here are five examples that will help you.

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5 Top Examples On Essays About Community Service

1. essay on community service and its importance by joni kim, 2. community service experience: essay on what i learned by anonymous on gradesfixer.com, 3. why is community service important by perry mullins, 4. concept of the community services in modern society essay by anonymous on ivypanda.com, 5. community service experience essay by writer molly, 1. community service vs. volunteering, 2. community service: then and now, 3. why we should volunteer, 4. community service in schools: mandatory or voluntary, 5. community service and its influences, 6. types of community service, 7. my community service experience, 8. donation or service: what’s better to give.

“The service helps the group of people in need, for example, senior citizens, children, people with disability and the likes. Sometimes community service is geared towards solving problems related to the needs of community members, especially low-income earners.”

Kim explains that community service is a voluntary action done through various means. It includes health and child care services, education, housing, and other improvements to aid and support the community members who need the most assistance. Then, Kim focuses on its importance to individuals, the community , and the country. The essay showcases how community service improves social, interpersonal, and decision-making skills. It also allows students to explore and find their interests. Ultimately, Kim believes that the real-life experience of volunteering assists in determining one’s career path, providing advantages when applying for a job.

“This experience has helped me to cherish my ability to influence and impact others in a positive way, and it helped me to look at community service as a benefit for myself, instead of just another obligation to fit into my schedule.”

In this essay, the writer reflects on their community service experience , sharing the gains they reaped from the program. They discuss how their undying love for animals and tight-knit communities made them realize the gravity of sharing. They also had the opportunity to strengthen and develop a new set of talents and skills from the encounter. However, the author also mentions that when the desire to do good morphs into a forced responsibility, it leads to failure. The writer says they often receive more benefits than the people and animals they help, as the experience makes them more patient, flexible, and responsible.

“True volunteering lies in an individual’s will and drives to help other and enforcing it eliminates that drive.”

Mullins focuses his essay on explaining why it should not be mandatory for students to do community service. For him, mandatory volunteering takes away the true meaning of volunteerism . Students only view it as additional work – an obligatory criterion they must check off their list to graduate. He claims that students will gain nothing but stress instead of new skills and knowledge when compulsory community services are in place.

“As for me, I consider community work as a good opportunity to get the main idea of some particular services, still, I would not have the same great desire to participate in social life if the services would become obligatory for graduation.”

In modern society, volunteering is becoming a necessary factor in many organizations. People with experience in community service have more opportunities to get a job. The author delves into community service’s importance but also criticizes that making it a requisite takes away its value. With various arguments from professionals like Alina Tugend , the essay further argues that no one would want to receive help from people who consider it an obligation.

“The community service project is different from other school educations the community service can teach us how to love others and how to fulfill our heart with joy.”

Molly dislikes homeless people because of their appearance and smell, but this all changes when cleaning and selling preloved items to homeless people becomes the best experience of her life. Community service taught her that the homeless are no different from her. She also learned to be thankful for her situation. She concludes that after the program, she became more respectful, responsible, and caring to other people.

Do you want to secure that A+ Grade? Check out our round-up of the best essay writing apps for students and academics.

8 Helpful Prompts on Essays About Community Service

If you’re still confused about the topic and can’t choose what to talk about, you can use the prompts below:

To write this prompt, the first part of your essay should discuss the meaning of community service and volunteering . Next, identify and examine the different characteristics of a community service worker and volunteer to clearly explain their similarities and differences. Then finish your essay with your opinion on the matter or look for more information you can expound on in your own words. 

This prompt shows how people’s definitions, processes, and perceptions of community service changed over time. Research and write down how community service started in your country or area to make it more relatable. Include examples of community services that made a big difference for the community and consider how these services impacted people’s lives.

Essays About Community Service: Why we should volunteer?

Explain to your readers what voluntary work means and why exposure to it is crucial. Next, write the advantages and disadvantages of volunteering and what they should expect if they decide to be a volunteer . Finally, share your experience to clarify your comments, suggestions, and other points.

The decision to make community service mandatory in every school is still up for debate. First, pen your opinion on this topic and whether or not you agree with compulsory community service. Then, discuss your reasons and provide examples or factual evidence to support your arguments.

Identify and scrutinize the positive and negative effects of community service. Find news articles where one type of community service impacted its volunteers , community , and people differently. Write down how the organizer dealt with different situations and if it affected the program’s outcome.

There are three kinds of community service: direct, indirect, and advocacy. First, discuss and give examples for each one. Then, explain how these services differ from programs under service-learning. For example, direct community service includes directly serving homeless people food and clothes, while in service-learning, volunteers will teach people to garden and earn income. 

Use this prompt to share your memorable experience while doing community service and what you learned from it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short program at your school, work, or organization. The important thing is that you have experience in community service. Include your initial reaction and if it changed over time while you were doing the service.

Some choose to donate money to various organizations that perform community service. Others join the program and personally help other people. In this prompt, share your opinion on the topic and whether you consider donating as community service. To make your essay more intriguing, look for prominent personalities who consistently contribute or engage in community service versus those who only present monetary assistance. 

AI grammar checkers are powerful resources that can help you improve your writing. See our guide on how to use an AI grammar checker. For help with this topic, read our guide explaining what is persuasive writing ?

57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples

🏆 best titles about community service, 👍 simple & easy research titles about community, 🎓 most interesting community topics to write about.

  • Significant Voluntary Sector Organisations Challenges in Public Service Delivery The main concern raised in the conference was a discussion of the role of voluntary organisations in the delivery of public services.
  • Concept of the Community Services in Modern Society Community services are defined as the services which are performed for the benefit of the society on volunteering basis. The advantages of the community services cannot be questioned, still, making such service mandatory for graduation […]
  • Community Service Experience: Homeless Shelter The shelter also organizes outreach and humanitarian work during the day to ensure that homeless people in the community know about the shelter and the services it provides.
  • Community Service as a Form of Correction Of these alternatives, community service has been one of the most employed and therefore opened a room for debates with the proponents feeling that the option is a remedy to all the prison problems while […]
  • Conceptualization of the Aspect of Community Service As part of expressive the Jewish values, the aspect of creativity and innovativeness help to inspire the inner self to remain observant, responsible, and caring to the needs of neighbors and the society at large.
  • Community Service: Mandatory or Voluntary? Engaging in community service not only helps in transforming the behavior of young people but it is also helpful to adults.
  • S.H.A.P.E. Community Service and Programs The organization emphasizes unity, self-determination, creativity, faith, and teamwork as the basis of its work.S.H.A.P.E.programs target young and elderly generations and aim to improve the quality of life of particular age category individuals and the […]
  • Dayton Children’s Hospital and Community Service Dayton Children’s is committed to improve quality of life of people living in the community. This report provides more detailed information on the organization’s activities and monetary amounts of community benefit.
  • Mondawmin Community Service Delivery Plan Through the service delivery plan, the relevant authorities in the region will put in place the relevant measures for reducing or eliminating the above predicament in the region.
  • Addressing the Impacts of Undergraduates’ Engagement in Community Service on Stakeholders It is important to note that as much as the community and the individual stands to benefit from community service, there are various challenges facing the provision of this service in a given community.
  • Illuminate Diabetes Event Design Finally, after these special performances, there will be distribution of fliers with information on diabetes and encouragement to get tested for diabetes and thus reach the climax of the event.
  • Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board The Hampton-Newport Community Services Board offers a broad range of mental well-being and drug abuse services and care for people with mental and developmental disorders. The agency works together with certified psychoanalysts and psychologists in […]
  • Volunteering in Leisure Sector The review shows that individuals are motivated due to the benefits that come with volunteering in the sector and the nature of the activity.
  • Volunteering for Horizon House: Homeless Neighbours’ Motivation to Find Jobs To understand and analyze the role of the center in changing the homeless neighbours’ life for better, it is appropriate to focus on the center’s assistance in employing neighbours and developing their job skills with […]
  • Community service should be required by most citizens of a country One of the reasons is because President Clinton has been explaining the importance of volunteering to the community by the American students and the public.
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  • The Historical Accuracy of the Portrayal of the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, a Drama Film by Ava DuVernay
  • A Look at Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the Role of Martin Luther
  • The Historiography Of Womens Role And Visibility In The Civil Rights Movement
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IvyPanda. (2023, November 30). 57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples. https://ivypanda.com/essays/topic/community-service-essay-examples/

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103 Community Service Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

Inside This Article

Community service is a fulfilling and impactful way to give back to society. It allows individuals to contribute their time, skills, and efforts for the betterment of their communities. Engaging in community service not only benefits the community but also provides personal growth and development opportunities. If you are required to write an essay on community service, choosing the right topic is crucial. To help you get started, here are 103 community service essay topic ideas and examples to inspire you:

  • The impact of community service on personal development.
  • How community service can bridge the gap between different social classes.
  • The role of community service in reducing crime rates.
  • The benefits of community service for mental health.
  • How community service can help address homelessness.
  • The impact of community service on youth empowerment.
  • The role of community service in promoting environmental sustainability.
  • The benefits of community service in building strong communities.
  • The impact of community service on reducing substance abuse.
  • How community service can help combat food insecurity.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local animal shelter.
  • The role of community service in promoting education.
  • The impact of community service on reducing social isolation among the elderly.
  • How community service can promote cultural diversity and inclusion.
  • The benefits of community service in disaster relief efforts.
  • The role of community service in addressing domestic violence.
  • The impact of community service on reducing teenage pregnancy rates.
  • How community service can promote gender equality.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local hospital.
  • The role of community service in promoting sustainable development.
  • The impact of community service on reducing racial inequality.
  • How community service can help individuals with disabilities.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local library.
  • The role of community service in promoting healthy lifestyles.
  • The impact of community service on reducing bullying in schools.
  • How community service can promote access to healthcare.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local community center.
  • The role of community service in promoting peace and harmony.
  • The impact of community service on reducing juvenile delinquency.
  • How community service can help veterans reintegrate into society.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local nursing home.
  • The role of community service in promoting civic engagement.
  • The impact of community service on reducing child poverty.
  • How community service can promote entrepreneurship.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local food bank.
  • The role of community service in promoting social justice.
  • The impact of community service on reducing school dropout rates.
  • How community service can help individuals with mental disabilities.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local youth center.
  • The role of community service in promoting intergenerational connections.
  • The impact of community service on reducing substance abuse among teenagers.
  • How community service can promote access to clean water.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local homeless shelter.
  • The role of community service in promoting human rights.
  • The impact of community service on reducing income inequality.
  • How community service can help individuals with autism.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local sports club.
  • The role of community service in promoting disaster preparedness.
  • The impact of community service on reducing gang violence.
  • How community service can promote access to education for underprivileged children.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local community garden.
  • The role of community service in promoting digital literacy.
  • The impact of community service on reducing teenage suicide rates.
  • How community service can help individuals with physical disabilities.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local arts organization.
  • The role of community service in promoting sustainable transportation.
  • The impact of community service on reducing human trafficking.
  • How community service can promote access to affordable housing.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local after-school program.
  • The role of community service in promoting cultural preservation.
  • The impact of community service on reducing school violence.
  • How community service can help individuals with learning disabilities.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local environmental organization.
  • The role of community service in promoting gender equity.
  • The impact of community service on reducing elder abuse.
  • How community service can promote access to technology.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local museum.
  • The role of community service in promoting renewable energy.
  • The impact of community service on reducing human rights violations.
  • How community service can help individuals with addiction.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local senior center.
  • The role of community service in promoting cultural exchange.
  • The impact of community service on reducing youth crime.
  • How community service can promote access to affordable healthcare.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local community theater.
  • The role of community service in promoting sustainable agriculture.
  • The impact of community service on reducing discrimination.
  • How community service can help individuals with mental health issues.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local youth mentoring program.
  • The role of community service in promoting interfaith dialogue.
  • The impact of community service on reducing child labor.
  • How community service can promote access to clean energy.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local women's shelter.
  • The role of community service in promoting peacebuilding.
  • The impact of community service on reducing hate crimes.
  • How community service can help individuals with chronic illnesses.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local sports camp.
  • The role of community service in promoting sustainable tourism.
  • The impact of community service on reducing political polarization.
  • How community service can promote access to legal representation.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local children's hospital.
  • The role of community service in promoting cultural integration.
  • The impact of community service on reducing drug addiction.
  • How community service can help individuals with visual impairments.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local community radio station.
  • The role of community service in promoting water conservation.
  • The impact of community service on reducing child abuse.
  • How community service can promote access to vocational training.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local animal rescue organization.
  • The role of community service in promoting intercultural understanding.
  • The impact of community service on reducing gang recruitment.
  • How community service can help individuals with hearing impairments.
  • The benefits of volunteering at a local environmental clean-up initiative.

Remember, when choosing a topic for your community service essay, it is essential to select one that resonates with your interests and values. This will allow you to write passionately and authentically about the topic, making your essay more impactful and compelling. Happy writing!

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Home Essay Samples Life

Essay Samples on Community Service

Community service encompasses a wide range of activities aimed at addressing various societal needs. These can include volunteering at local shelters, participating in environmental conservation projects, organizing educational initiatives for underprivileged children, or assisting the elderly in their daily tasks. Through community service, individuals have the opportunity to give back to their communities, create connections, and contribute to the overall welfare of society.

How to Write a College Essay About Community Service

When writing your own college essay about community service, it can be helpful to explore community service essay examples to gain inspiration and insight into the structure and content. These examples provide tangible evidence of the transformative power of community service and can guide you in effectively conveying your experiences and growth.

Here are other useful tips to use:

  • Begin by sharing an engaging personal anecdote that vividly illustrates your active involvement in community service. By doing so, you can effectively capture the attention of the readers and convey the significance of your actions.
  • Connect your experiences to broader social issues, demonstrating how your involvement has inspired you to address specific challenges and contribute to the betterment of society.
  • To make your college essay on community service exceptional, provide specific examples of projects or initiatives you have participated in, and look at the essay on community service example.
  • Share how these experiences have allowed you to develop valuable skills, acquire knowledge, and embrace important values. By discussing these details, you can showcase your personal growth, expanded perspective, and the development of a strong sense of civic responsibility.

As you embark on writing your college essay about community service, explore the wealth of community service college essay examples available to you. These examples will serve as valuable resources, inspiring you to craft an exceptional essay that captures the essence of your service journey.

Should Students Be Required to Perform Community Service to Graduate High School?

For decades, the education system has primarily been viewed through the lens of academic achievement, but the tide is turning towards a more holistic understanding of what truly prepares students for the world. Integral to this discussion is the role of community service in molding...

  • Community Service
  • High School

My Community Service Experience

My journey into the realm of community service was less about an obligatory chore and more about a serendipitous discovery of my potential, my passion, and my connection to the broader world around me. The experiences I garnered, the people I met, and the lessons...

Mandatory Community Service: Balancing Societal Needs

The concept of mandatory community service, often seen in academic curricula and judiciary systems, has spurred diverse reactions and debates. Rooted in the idea of fostering societal growth and instilling civic responsibility, mandatory community service juxtaposes societal needs with individual autonomy. This synthesis essay integrates...

The Importance of Community Service

The importance of community service is a beacon that guides individuals towards meaningful engagement, personal growth, and societal transformation. Community service transcends altruism; it's a vital component of building stronger, more compassionate communities. This essay explores the multifaceted reasons behind the importance of community service,...

Community Service: The Synthesis of Societal Progress and Personal Growth

The tapestry of society is woven with myriad threads, each representing diverse pursuits, challenges, and endeavors. Among these threads, community service stands out as a beacon of altruism and societal progress. Through various academic studies, personal narratives, and historical references, it becomes evident that community...

  • Personal Growth and Development

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The Role of the Community Service Scholarship

The journey to self-discovery often meanders through the paths of service to others. As I pen down this essay for the community service scholarship, I reflect upon how my involvement in community service has been a crucible for personal growth, leadership, and a deeper understanding...

  • Scholarship

Report on the Significance and Impact of Community Service

Across the globe, community service plays an invaluable role in fostering community ties, instilling values of responsibility, and enhancing personal growth. This report delves deep into understanding the essence, multifaceted benefits, and the broader implications of community service. Through systematic analysis and real-world examples, we...

Proposal for a Comprehensive Community Service Project

In today's interconnected world, the emphasis on collective growth and community well-being has never been more pronounced. A well-conceived community service project can create lasting positive impacts, not just for immediate beneficiaries but also for volunteers and the community at large. This essay proposes a...

Community Service is the Best Form of Punishment

In recent years, the criminal justice system has come under scrutiny, leading to calls for more rehabilitative rather than punitive methods of dealing with offenders. One such approach that has gained traction is the use of community service as a form of punishment. Advocates argue...

Community Service in High School Should Not Be Mandatory

The concept of community service in high schools has consistently been a subject of contention. While proponents extol the myriad virtues of community involvement, a growing consensus believes that community service in high school should not be mandatory. This essay provides a comprehensive examination of...

Why Community Service is Important: The Ripple Effect

Why community service is important is a question that delves into the heart of social responsibility, empathy, and the profound impact individuals can have on the world around them. Community service is more than just a requirement; it's a powerful catalyst for positive change that...

Unpacking the Value of Community Service Hours

The concept of community service hours, often a requirement in academic and organizational settings, has sparked diverse opinions. While some see it as a mere checkbox to tick off, others view it as an avenue for genuine personal growth and societal contribution. Delving deeper into...

Community Service for High School: Building Foundations for the Future

When we think of high school, our minds often gravitate towards academic pressures, extracurricular activities, and the perennial quest for personal identity. Yet, amidst these, an increasingly significant component of the high school experience is community service. Introducing community service for high school students offers...

The Integral Role of Community Service in Society

Community service, often perceived as a simple act of volunteerism, holds a profound impact on individuals and communities as a whole. It not only fosters social cohesion but also strengthens communal ties and promotes personal growth. This essay delves into the pivotal nature of community...

Importance of Giving Back to the Community to Bring Positive Change

The spirit of giving back to the community is a profound expression of empathy, compassion, and social responsibility. Throughout history, individuals and groups have recognized the importance of contributing to the betterment of society. This essay explores the significance of giving back to the community,...

  • Volunteering

Character and Service: Personal Values and Community Impact

“One of the deep secrets in life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others.”-Lewis Carroll. A quote that was used in one my favorite shows, Criminal Minds. I don’t know why I’m so drawn to crime shows, or...

  • Feature of Character

Community Service: Should It Be Mandatory

Community service is the work that makes you feel that you’re beneficial for others and that your existence is valuable and I do appreciate this feeling so much and this is the main reason why I am committed to serve my community. I’ve been asking...

  • Helping Others

Establishment Of Community Service Being Mandatory

The moment I saw my classmate struggling to understand some easy algebra concepts, I decided to help them. At the same time, I heard about the Scholars Academy. Scholar Academy is an organization which is established to help students to reinforce education through peer learning,...

Working With Underserved Populations As My Career Goal

As a first-generation university student, I had to overcome a lot of obstacles to come this far in my education due to the numerous financial challenges, but I am motivated by the fact that getting access to education is the surest way to escape the...

  • Career Goals

The Benefits Of Community Service: Giving Back To The Community

Different people have different reasons for taking up community service programs. Irrespective of one’s circumstances and motives, community service activities have and should help accomplish several goals in an area. However, giving back to the community should not only be about meeting particular personal and...

  • Community Development

Reflection On Homeless Volunteer Projects

The first time I’d ever laid eyes on a homeless person was years ago. I remember feeling a sinking type of pain in my chest, not knowing what it was. This feeling of sorrow and compassion has always been my weakness, and as I handed...

First Impressions of Community Service at Lion’s Eye Hospital

Background Information As I am a fourth-year student, I am entitled to do community service as a course through United States International University (USIU-A). It was a very easy pick for me when I obtained the list of places you could do the community service,...

My Community Service Experience Reflection Paper

If you asked me about my attitude towards community service many years ago, you'd hear the negative answer. I believe that most people have the same opinions on this. Whoever asked you to do something without getting a refund? That was the main reason why...

Community Service as a Tool to Lower Crime Rates

Court-Ordered Service - an Effective Way to Reduce Crime Laws have been put in place to restrict the potential unethical behaviours of citizens. When one breaks a law, there may be severe punishments. Major crimes result in arrest and conviction, possibly a life sentence to...

  • Criminal Law

How Community Service Shapes Student's Thinking

Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian activist, once said, 'You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. It is difficult to deny the truth of his message. If you want to see a positive impact on the world around you, you must be...

  • Mahatma Gandhi

Responsibility Hidden Behind Community Service

My best friend had an unfortunate tendency to separate people into “us” and “them.” In community service, the dividing line was class. What made me a social worker helping underprivileged children putting food on a plate rather than being one of them who needed to...

  • Social Class

Malama Loko Ea Reflections

Last September 15th, 2018, I went on a community service program together with my friends at the Malama Loko e’ a fishpond in North Shore, Hawaii. It was the first community service I have done in that area. We have chosen the place because we...

Best topics on Community Service

1. Should Students Be Required to Perform Community Service to Graduate High School?

2. My Community Service Experience

3. Mandatory Community Service: Balancing Societal Needs

4. The Importance of Community Service

5. Community Service: The Synthesis of Societal Progress and Personal Growth

6. The Role of the Community Service Scholarship

7. Report on the Significance and Impact of Community Service

8. Proposal for a Comprehensive Community Service Project

9. Community Service is the Best Form of Punishment

10. Community Service in High School Should Not Be Mandatory

11. Why Community Service is Important: The Ripple Effect

12. Unpacking the Value of Community Service Hours

13. Community Service for High School: Building Foundations for the Future

14. The Integral Role of Community Service in Society

15. Importance of Giving Back to the Community to Bring Positive Change

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Jane Addams

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Members of The Farm, near Summertown, Tenn., load sorghum for processing into molasses at a nearby mill in Summertown, Tennessee, Dec. 7, 1971. The group, with 400 members, came to Tennessee to set up a communal life.

social service

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Jane Addams

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social service , any of numerous publicly or privately provided services intended to aid disadvantaged, distressed, or vulnerable persons or groups. The term social service also denotes the profession engaged in rendering such services. The social services have flourished in the 20th century as ideas of social responsibility have developed and spread.

The basic concerns of social welfare —poverty, disability and disease, the dependent young and elderly—are as old as society itself. The laws of survival once severely limited the means by which these concerns could be addressed; to share another’s burden meant to weaken one’s own standing in the fierce struggle of daily existence. As societies developed, however, with their patterns of dependence between members, there arose more systematic responses to the factors that rendered individuals, and thus society at large, vulnerable.

Religion and philosophy have tended to provide frameworks for the conduct of social welfare. The edicts of the Buddhist emperor Aśoka in India, the sociopolitical doctrines of ancient Greece and Rome , and the simple rules of the early Christian communities are only a few examples of systems that addressed social needs. The Elizabethan Poor Laws in England , which sought relief of paupers through care services and workhouses administered at the parish level, provided precedents for many modern legislative responses to poverty. In Victorian times a more stringent legal view of poverty as a moral failing was met with the rise of humanitarianism and a proliferation of social reformers. The social charities and philanthropic societies founded by these pioneers formed the basis for many of today’s welfare services.

Because perceived needs and the ability to address them determine each society’s range of welfare services, there exists no universal vocabulary of social welfare. In some countries a distinction is drawn between “social services,” denoting programs, such as health care and education , that serve the general population , and “welfare services,” denoting aid directed to vulnerable groups, such as the poor, the disabled, or the delinquent. According to another classification, remedial services address the basic needs of individuals in acute or chronic distress; preventive services seek to reduce the pressures and obstacles that cause such distress; and supportive services attempt, through educational, health, employment, and other programs, to maintain and improve the functioning of individuals in society. Social welfare services originated as emergency measures that were to be applied when all else failed. However, they are now generally regarded as a necessary function in any society and a means not only of rescuing the endangered but also of fostering a society’s ongoing, corporate well-being.

The majority of personal social services are rendered on an individual basis to people who are unable, whether temporarily or permanently, to cope with the problems of everyday living. Recipients include families faced with loss of income, desertion, or illness; children and youths whose physical or moral welfare is at risk; the sick; the disabled; the frail elderly; and the unemployed. When possible, services are also directed toward preventing threats to personal or family independence.

Social services generally place a high value on keeping families together in their local communities, organizing support from friends or neighbours when kinship ties are weak. Where necessary, the services provide substitute forms of home life or residential care, and play a key role in the care and control of juvenile delinquents and other socially deviant groups, such as drug and alcohol abusers.

In the advanced industrial societies the personal social services have always constituted a “mixed economy of welfare,” involving the statutory, voluntary, and private sectors of welfare provision. Although the role of personal social services is crucial, they account for only a small proportion of total welfare expenditures. The most substantial increases in expenditures have occurred in social security systems, which provide assistance to specific categories of claimants on the basis of both universal and selective criteria . The development of modern social security systems from the 1880s reflects not only a gradual but fundamental change in the aims and scope of social policy but also a dramatic shift in expert and popular opinion with regard to the relative significance of the social and personal causes of need.

In the belief that personal shortcomings were the chief cause of poverty and of people’s inability to cope with it, the major 19th-century systems of poor relief in western Europe and North America tended to withhold relief from all but the truly destitute , to whom it was given as a last resort. This policy was intended as a general deterrent to idleness. The poor-law relieving officer was the precursor of both the public assistance officials and the social workers of today in his command of statutory financial aid. The voluntary charitable agencies of the time differed on the relative merits of deterrent poor-law services on the one hand, implying resistance to the growth of statutory welfare, and on the provision of alternative assistance to the needy, coupled with the extension of statutory services, on the other hand. From the 1870s the Charity Organization Society and similar bodies in the United States , Britain, and elsewhere held strongly to the former option, and their influence was widespread until the outbreak of World War II .

small essay about social service

The settlement movement in Britain and the United States drew voluntary workers into direct contact with the serious material disadvantages suffered by the poor. The pioneer of this movement was the vicar Samuel A. Barnett , who in 1884 with his wife and a number of university students “settled” in a deprived area of London, calling their neighbourhood house Toynbee Hall . Two visitors to this settlement soon introduced the movement into the United States—Stanton Coit , who founded Neighborhood Guild (later University Settlement) on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1886, and Jane Addams , who with Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House on the Near West Side of Chicago in 1889. From these prototypes the movement spread to other U.S. cities and abroad through Europe and Asia.

The origins of modern social casework can be traced to the appointment of the first medical almoners in Britain in the 1880s, a practice quickly adopted in North American and most western European countries. The almoners originally performed three main functions: ascertaining the financial eligibility and resources of patients faced with the rising costs of medical care, providing counseling services to support patients and their families during periods of ill health and bereavement , and procuring adequate practical aids and other forms of home care for discharged patients. Elsewhere secular and religious charitable associations providing financial help, educational welfare, and housing for the poor began to employ social workers.

By the turn of the century there were various schemes for organizing charitable work on “scientific” principles according to nationally agreed standards of procedure and services. In Britain, the United States, Germany, and, later, Japan, leading charities worked in conjunction with poor-law and public assistance authorities, an approach endorsed in 1909 in the majority report of the British Royal Commission on the Poor Law. The first schools of social work, usually run by the voluntary charitable agencies, appeared in the 1890s and early 1900s in London, New York City , and Amsterdam, and by the 1920s there were similar ventures in other parts of western Europe and North America and in South America . The training programs combined casework methods and other practical forms of intervention and support, with particular emphasis on working in cooperation with individuals and families to restore a level of independence.

From the 1900s onward the surveys conducted by Charles Booth in London and Seebohm Rowntree in York and by other researchers began to transform conventional views of the role of the state in social welfare and the relief of poverty, and the social causes of poverty came under scrutiny. At the same time, the scope of social work was growing, with the spread of settlement houses, to include group work and community action.

In most countries social welfare services, or personal social services, rather than being separately organized and administered, are often attached to other major social services, such as social security, health care, education, and housing. This is explained by the course of their historical development. The means open to policy-making and administration in the personal social services are often incompatible. For example, the demands of the general integration and coordination of care programs can conflict with the provision of services that take due account of the needs of specific client groups. Also to be reconciled are the provision of individual services and the provision for family and neighbourhood needs.

Statutory and voluntary social services have evolved in response to needs that could not be fully met by individuals either alone or in association with others. Among the factors determining the present nature of such services are, first, that the growth in the scale and complexity of industrial societies has added to the obligations of central and local governments. Second, the increasing wealth and productivity of industrial societies has heightened public expectations regarding standards of living and standards of justice , at the same time augmenting the material capacity to meet those expectations. Third, the processes of social and economic change have grown to such proportions that individuals are increasingly ill-equipped to anticipate and cope with the adverse effects of such change. Fourth, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to recognize and provide for the idiosyncratic needs arising from the interaction of social and personal life.

Any family can experience crises that it is powerless to control. The hardships of ill health and unemployment can be compounded by loss of income; divorce and separation can impede the welfare and development of young children; and long-term responsibility for dependent relatives can impair the physical and emotional well-being of those who provide the care.

A very small number of families experience such intractable problems that they require almost continuous help from personal social services. Some of these families present problems of deviant behaviour, including family violence and child abuse , irregular attendance or nonenrollment in school, alcohol and drug abuse , and crime and delinquency. Not all poor families, however, make heavy demands on social welfare services; indeed considerable hardship could be alleviated through more efficient use of existing services.

Over time, social workers have acquired a special responsibility for people whose particular needs fall outside the aegis of other professions and agencies. Apart from the requirements of individuals and families with serious long-term social and emotional problems, personal social services meet a wide spectrum of needs arising from the more routine contingencies of living. Inevitably personal social services are primarily concerned with reacting to a crisis as it occurs, but today much effort is being invested in preventive work and in the enhancement of welfare in the wider community. In this respect comparison can be made with the traditional aim of social security—the reduction of poverty—and the more ambitious objective of income maintenance.

The organization of personal social services in different societies is extremely variable. Ethnicity and urban deprivation have added new dimensions to need that cut across the traditional client categories of families, children, youth, the sick and handicapped, the unemployed, the aged, and the delinquent. Nevertheless, there are continuities and consistencies in the pattern of needs that characterize these major client groups.

Home / Essay Samples / Life / Community Service / The Undeniable Value of Community Service

The Undeniable Value of Community Service

  • Category: Life
  • Topic: Community Service , Helping Others

Pages: 1 (607 words)

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The Importance of Community Service in the Modern World

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