This Week’s Report: Youth Volunteerism

In recent decades, high schools and colleges have increased volunteer opportunities for students, sometimes mandating service as a graduation requirement. Nearly 90 percent of colleges offer service-learning programs that link class work with volunteer activities.

But as Staff Writer Marcia Clemmitt notes in this week’s report, the trend has had mixed reviews. Researchers have found that service work leads to greater civic engagement as young people grow older. But some worry that volunteer opportunities are more available to middle-class and affluent students than those from low-income families. And critics of mandatory service say it infringes on personal choice, though courts have ruled in favor of schools that require public service for graduation.

--Thomas J. Billitteri, Managing Editor