National Honor Society members volunteer virtually


Credit: Hannah Getachew

Sophomore, Hannah Getachew completes school work and attends NEHS meetings from her laptop.

Milo Turner, Social Media Team

Volunteering locally can be an easily accessible and rewarding way to give back to your community and use your skills to assist others. 

The National Honor Society and National English Honor Society are organizations that help students to hone their academic and leadership skills, and for members, volunteering is mandatory. 

According to NHS, membership is only available to students who are in grades 10-12, and have already completed 50 hours of community service. NHS stresses the importance of volunteering, as it gives NHS-affiliated schools the opportunity to, ¨strengthen its reputation in the community.¨

Due to social distancing guidelines and COVID-19 infection rates statewide in Michigan, this year Loy Norrix NHS members do not have to complete community service hours during the school year; however, NEHS members are required to complete one hour of service per trimester, and members have been doing so from a distance. 

One option students have for accumulating volunteer time is by completing yearbook forums and surveys that are distributed through email. 

Sophomore Hannah Getachew is a first-time NEHS member and has filled out these forms. 

“I’m doing pretty well in NEHS. I think the people in it are all pretty cool and nice despite the fact that school is from home right now.¨ Getachew continued, ¨We have NEHS meetings every other week and they last about 5-10 minutes now depending on what the leaders are presenting.¨

Getachew said, “I have completed some [community service] through signing forms. I need to get around to signing up for more volunteer hours though, and I believe some of the opportunities are online on google meets for working with kids.”

Junior Emma Atkinson is a member of both the NHS and NEHS and has taken that opportunity to meet with students in lower grade levels via Google Meets. 

Atkinson explained, “Essentially, me and some other volunteers will go into a Google Meet, and students will meet us there during a scheduled time. We do things such as helping with homework, reading together, or playing games.”

These meetings will typically consist of anywhere from two to ten elementary and middle school students. 

The meets are set up through Read and Write Kalamazoo and Edison Reading Project volunteering programs. 

“Currently, the volunteering opportunities are very scarce,” Atkinson said, “but there’s probably a lot out there. Anyone can join the volunteering programs, but I’ve only seen NHS and NEHS kids doing them. The teachers and the elected students find the opportunities then tell us about them”

According to RAWK, those interested in volunteering must be at least 18 to do so on their own, and there are a variety of other options for volunteering such as supervising field trips, helping at the storefront and office administration assistance. 

Even though volunteering is a requirement that students must meet for membership, community service is a valuable experience and a great way to improve your local environment.