Students reap many benefits from community service. There is a raft of studies that show volunteering improves your health, wellbeing, problem-solving skills, and your ability to work in a team. However, the best endorsement comes from those who’ve done it. William Pike Challenge participants have heaps of good stories to share about the benefits of giving back.
Community service builds appreciation
At Kimihia School, students have taken on activities ranging from communal knitting projects and coaching sports teams to serving meals and painting fences. “They get to really see, and be a part of, what’s going on in our local environment, and that’s been lovely. I think that kids are often oblivious to all the people working hard to make our community and environment a better place – and they now personally know and have connected with many of them”, says Sarah, a Kimihia, school mum.
Community service helps grow connections
Getting involved in volunteering can help young people build ‘social connectedness’. Nicole was one of the first students to complete the William Pike Challenge, and she joined St John. for her community service. Years later, Nicole is still serving with St John. She stayed involved when she moved to a new town, and it was a good way to get to know people. “It helped me build lots of positive relationships with different community groups”.
Community service uncovers new interests
Volunteering is a rewarding way for students to discover new passions. Morgan put on a women’s breakfast for her community service project, and she loved it. “I didn’t expect to get anything back from doing the community service,” she says. “But, I found something that I might want to do for my career – event planning”.
Community service helps with time management
Wharton professor Cassie Mogilner wrote in the Harvard Business Review that her research found those who volunteer their time feel like they have more of it. This was definitely the case for Morgan. She said that the William Pike Challenge helped her see how much more she could do with her time.
Community service builds understanding
Giving back teaches young people to look beyond themselves and understand the role they can play in their community and helping others. When Faith worked towards her William Pike Challenge, she learned a lot about giving back through her volunteer work with Riding for the Disabled. She says she loves horses, but helping out at Riding for the Disabled let her see how much connection with an animal can help kids with big physical challenges.
Year 7–9 students complete 20 hours of community service in the William Pike Challenge. It gives these kids new experiences that help build their strength, resilience, and purpose. Helping out your community helps kids develop a sense of mattering – and that is something that really matters.