Today there are many negative stereotypes of teenagers about how we are so lazy, we don’t think of anyone but ourselves, and we are so self-centered. I believe that this is completely false, and in fact the complete opposite is true. Teenagers do more community service than any other age group. Almost all of my friends do some type of community service. There are many opportunities for us to give back to the community with programs such as the boys and girls club, youth coaching, charities, fund-raisers and walks. But I’ll admit we are teenagers and it can be hard to do many of these while also trying to balance school work, jobs, sports and we need some time to just hang out and be teenagers.

There are so many programs and community service opportunities that we take part in. Almost everyone in our high school will have in some way given back to the community. Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization that many, many teens take part in to help younger children with schoolwork, to have someone to play with, and someone to look up to. Athletes can also give back by helping to coach youth programs. I have personally found this helps a lot because younger kids really look up to us and they will listen to us and try even harder as well. There are also countless fund-raisers teenagers either start or take part in, from bands playing for a family in need to raising money for our sports teams, or walking to fight cancer or hunger, and there are many other ways we raise money for others.

The great things about almost all of these projects are how you don’t really need experience or separate skills like being a superstar athlete or a guidance counselor to give back. We may not know everything about a sport but we can coach a child and make a difference. We might not think of ourselves as role models for kids in after-school programs, but we still can be. So we aren’t experts and we may make mistakes, but most of us do put in the time and really try to help out.

There may be some lazy kids out there who don’t care for community service, but it can be hard to find time to do these things. I know we are only teenagers and we don’t have any “real” responsibilities like adults do, but we still have pretty busy lives. We have school until after two, then most of us have sports, theatre, clubs or jobs to do until after school and then schoolwork until late in the evening. Weekends are usually for sports games and projects, or maybe some work and we still need about one day a week to relax and have fun with our friends, but we do find some time to do something for the community. Even for those of us who don’t care for that sort of thing will still do it because it looks good for college and we still do it or at least try it out.

There hasn’t been a single person I have asked who hasn’t done some sort of community service sometime in their high school careers. I know there must be a few, but stereotyping teenagers and saying we only think about ourselves is just plain wrong, and I believe there is a higher percentage of teenagers who give back to the community than adults who do, so give us a break. We don’t only do community service because of some court order. We do care about the Island and we are giving back.