Be sure to record your community service projects. Mrs. Holly Craw of the Covenant Home School Resource Center in Phoenix, Arizona suggests:

. . . [using] a loose leaf notebook with dividers for each type of job or for each location. Record in a journal or list the types of tasks done in one column. Have another column for details [such as] location, supervisor, people supervised, [and the] role of [your] job in the overall organization. List the times worked in the next section and [your] comments [such as:] What was fun? What was challenging? What did you learn? What would you do differently? How did this opportunity make a difference in your life and for others? Ask the agency to provide or sign off on a time log and also have them write letters of commendation describing duties, character, contribution, etc. . .

Students as young as middle school can begin collecting other items besides community service records for a resume. Anything that documents jobs, talents, and projects can be included. Recording your interests, leadership skills, and goals is also a good idea. When discussing resumes, Mrs. Craw says to "treat the community service as importantly as a paid job in terms of promptness, attitude, completing tasks on time, [and] seeking to build up others rather than undermine. . ." Think about including your resume in a college application or a portfolio of your high school work. Also, if you are planning on going to college, service hours can help you in obtaining a scholarship.

Although community service is a good way to add to your academic records, more importantly, it really is a great opportunity for a person to find ways to help others out of this goodness of his own heart and to create lots of that wonderful warm feeling for everyone involved. 

Erin McRee is the Junior Investigative Reporter for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Copyright, 2004. All rights reserved. Right now, 19 free gifts at The Old Schoolhouse.