Many of us believe student-athletes have a greater responsibility than simply performing on game days. They are ambassadors for their schools and often serve as the faces of their respective institutions. Specifically, their actions on and off the court are often reflective of the institutions they represent. This is why we feel it is important that they give back to the communities that support them from the sidelines.
Community service is an educational tool that offers life lessons that our teachers and administrators cannot teach students from text books.
Much like participating in team sports, high school students can often learn the value of hard work, appreciation for others' efforts and a sense of responsibility through community service involvement. Participating in such extracurricular activities gives them a feeling of accomplishment and personal pride when they are able to witness change first hand and help improve the lives of fellow community members.
According to a study conducted by the University of Nevada at Reno, teenagers who participate in community service are more likely to do well in school, to graduate from high school and college, and to actively vote.
They also contribute nearly 2.4 billion hours of community service annually, worth approximately $34.3 billion dollars to the U.S. economy.
Some schools even require students to perform a specified number of community service hours. Just imagine if we all encouraged Louisiana's high school students to invest in their respective neighborhoods and communities what type of positive social and economic shock wave would be sent throughout our state.
This is why the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) is proud to honor many of our student-athletes who have chosen to go the extra mile in offering their time and talents both on and off the field.
In 1993, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor founded the Louisiana Serve Commission, which focuses on sparking a commitment to service throughout the state. Recently, the Louisiana Serve Commission began the "All we need is U" initiative to encourage community service.
Visit www.u.volunteerlouisiana.gov or www.volunteerlouisiana.gov to learn more about our state's latest community service initiatives, community service opportunities or ways in which you can become more involved in your area.
Kenny Henderson is the Executive Director of the LHSAA.