By Ellen Vander Bleek
High school students usually have a lot on their minds between sports, homework, activities, work, and other things that students do. Something that many students leave out of their lives is volunteer work and service. Service is something that everyone has access to whether they know it or not. When teenagers hear the word “service” they think of work without pay. This is not entirely incorrect, but should be looked at as helping others who are in need of help.
I attend Prince of Peace College Preparatory in Clinton, the parochial school of Prince of Peace Parish. At my school, a minimum of 10 hours of service is required per quarter. Most students complete the 10 hours, but then stop volunteering when the hours are completed. Others may wait until the last minute to complete their hours or not even complete all of required hours.
One way that I found to make service more fun is to do my service with my friends. This school year I am part of the Diocesan Youth Ministry Committee (DYMC). This committee is a group of 16 high school youth and eight adults from throughout the Diocese of Davenport. It is the group that is behind all of the preparations and organization of the High School Youth Rally and the Junior High Rally, and does many things to help inspire involvement of the youth in the church. DYMC is how I attain most of my hours of service. Along with DYMC, I volunteer within my school, parish community and the Clinton community as well.
DYMC has helped me to build relationships with others outside of my parish. I have met so many people through DYMC and everyone gets along as friends. Another good aspect of DYMC is how it has helped me to become a better leader in my school and parish. I bring home more leadership skills from DYMC every time I attend a meeting.
DYMC also helps the youth to take on responsibilities of planning, organizing and meeting deadlines. DYMC has also helped me to realize what a difference young people can make if they are determined.
All in all DYMC is a great program for youths who are willing to do service and add time into their busy schedules for diocesan work. Service should be something done from the heart, not because it is something you have to do.
(DYMC member Ellen Vander Bleek is a sophomore at Prince of Peace College Preparatory in Clinton and a member of Prince of Peace Parish).