For high school community service programs to have a positive impact on subsequent civic engagement, students must volunteer in a sustained manner and must evaluate their volunteering experiences positively. Using a survey with 1,293 respondents and 100 semistructured interviews with past participants of the mandatory community service program implemented by the Ontario provincial government in 1999, the authors identify how and why students generate positive evaluations of community service requirements and whether the diversity of implementation or the mandatory nature might account for negative reactions to volunteering. The authors discuss the significance of these findings for academic debates about community service and for discussions about the ways in which public policy can promote the civic engagement of young people.
- community service
- civic engagement