Jim Marsoobian
Opinion Editor

With everything going on right now, it is easy to forget about the required amount of service hours needed to graduate. Here are some ideas that hopefully inspire students to make a change in their community.

Credit: “Comeback Clothes” from dosomething.org

     Hey seniors, did you know that to graduate you need a minimum of eight service hours that are signed and approved by a non-profit organization? This requirement goes beyond just graduation, but it is an excellent way to give back to the community and do good for others. Thankfully, there are several fun and helpful ways to get hours and they are all relatively nearby.

     For those who are already eighteen years old, volunteering at the Mission Viejo Animal Shelter is a great idea. All the time, this no-kill shelter takes in animals and the shelter staff needs assistance for things like communicating with other organizations about donations, helping with local wildlife projects, walking dogs, playing with cats and rabbits, and educating the public about animal care. If you’re someone who likes to spend time with animals, this is perfect.

     If animals are definitely your thing but you’re still under eighteen, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach would be a great place. You can work with sea lions and seals, help the organization teach younger kids, and act as a junior docent for visitors.

     The Teen Voice Blog from the Mission Viejo Library is an excellent match for readers and writers in high school. Each blog post written counts for an hour of service credit and will look great on college applications. Writing everything from book reviews to author interviews, this program is meant to inspire teen literacy in an interesting and relatable way.

     To truly make a difference in the community, you could volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank which is located in Irvine. The food bank accepts volunteers who are eighteen and older, and the work mostly deals with sorting and packing food, harvesting produce, and working food drives.

     The Frida Cinema, located in Santa Ana, is Orange County’s only non-profit art house theater and is dedicated to connecting within communities through the arts. This would surely be an amazing place for creative minds to spend time, give back to the community, and hopefully have fun.

     For students with a driver’s license and an available car who truly aim to make a difference, there’s always Meals on Wheels. Volunteers deliver meals to senior citizens in the community and check in with them. This is a sure way to make somebody’s day and will be great for meeting new people and getting to know the community better.

     If you still need inspiration, visit dosomething.org. There are endless ideas about how to give back, and you can get a certificate and volunteer hours by providing proof of your time. Some of these ideas include cleaning up cigarette butts, collecting items for food banks, donating old clothes, making masks, recycling, and lots more.

     There’s still plenty of time to get your service hours, and who said it had to be a chore? There’s the perfect opportunity for everyone, and at the end of the day, whatever you decide to do, your community will thank you.