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Volunteering at church a community service?

Discussion in 'Pre-Dental' started by max4good, Jul 6, 2010.

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  1. max4good

    max4good New Member

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    Would serving at a church (sunday school teacher, etc.) count as community volunteer?
  2. bipster10

    bipster10

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    I don't see why not...you're volunteering your time to serve others. I'd say that would be a very good example of community service.
  3. slm266

    slm266 D3

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    Depends what you're doing. If your church is doing humanitarian work, i say go for it. If you volunteered your time teaching bible study or other religious related activities I probably wouldn't count it.

    I'm Mormon and served a 2 year church mission, but didn't count any of that as community service.

    If you count it, I'm sure it's no big deal, I just hope you have more hours coming from other areas that serve community members not of your faith. Loma linda would like it though.
  4. SuperTank

    SuperTank

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    :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
    Although it is volunteer work, I don't think I would count teaching a Bible study group as community service.

    I served a 2 year mission as well, and only counted community service as the time that I spent actually doing community service (volunteering at the Red Cross 4 hours a week, etc).
  5. 8 SNAKE

    8 SNAKE

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    Agreed. Teaching kids in a Sunday School class is just as much an act of service as cleaning up a neighborhood park, in my opinion.

    I'd probably show at least one other aspect of community service to demonstrate that I'm well-rounded in my volunteer work, but would most certainly list the church service on my application.
  6. hoylematt

    hoylematt

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    I don't know about you but I did like 6 hours a week at least while on my mission--why would you hide something like that?
  7. GGONGCHI

    GGONGCHI

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    just wondering.. is dishwashing at a church considered volunteer work too? i dont get paid. doing this for kids
  8. Oracle DMD

    Oracle DMD Chuck NOracle DMD Moderator Emeritus

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    the answer is that it depends who's reading your app. i would not consider bible study/ sunday school as community service, (actually, i would be offended that you listed it as community service) but someone else might.
  9. slm266

    slm266 D3

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    I mentioned my mission in my app, but just not in the service section (despite my many additional hours of service during my mission).

    My main reason for not bringing it up: There are hundreds of pre-dents at BYU, almost all of which served missions. BYU students will mainly only be compared against other BYU students. A mission is a wonderful thing, but some adcoms view it as just a tradition that is expected of all Mormons. Thus, all of my hours reflect a pattern of service after my 2yr mission.
  10. Ohaishasan

    Ohaishasan

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    So where did you all serve then?
  11. SuperTank

    SuperTank

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    Geneva, Switzerland (but I was in France for most of my mission).
  12. alanan84

    alanan84 D1

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    Why would that offend you?
  13. 8 SNAKE

    8 SNAKE

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    Please explain why.
  14. threeblindmice

    threeblindmice

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    I am religious and I can see why he'd be offended, I don't think he meant that religion itself offended him. Think about it, the Jehova's Witnesses (no offense intended) are required to knock doors for a certain number of hours just to become a member of the church. The LDS missionaries serve two full years 24 hours a day almost exclusively (with a few exceptions) proselytizing (also no offense intended). Thats 17,520 hours of "service". Those activities are a demonstration of your religion. Although often times the religion itself uses the terms "service or serving" it is really a way in which people demonstrate their religious commitment to God and probably shouldn't be used for the purpose of padding the community service numbers on an application. In my opinion a mission or teaching a bible study is a form or demonstration of worship. I don't mean to offend anybody or their religion, its just an honest opinion.
  15. 8 SNAKE

    8 SNAKE

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    There's a difference between requirements of a certain faith (you listed two examples) and a person freely donating time/resources/etc for the benefit of others. In my opinion, the difference between your examples and mine would be similar to someone who was staff at a food kitchen vs a volunteer off the street. Both are doing work for the benefit of others, but only one of them is truly volunteering.
  16. slm266

    slm266 D3

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    Let's be careful not to judge others' motives. Just because something is expected of you doesn't mean that you can't put your heart into it. The 2yrs of my mission in Mexico were the best 2 yr of my life.

    Let's be honest, if aadsas/adcoms didn't ask about community service, how many of us would still do service? Is it truly volunteer work then?

    Let's just not belittle others' service.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  17. SuperTank

    SuperTank

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    This isn't really the place to demean others volunteer experiences. If you want to know more about my motivation for serving a mission (it was not a requirement), and what volunteer work/community service I did over a 2 year period (outside of proselytizing), send me a PM.

    To give you some direction on your original question about whether or not church service is considered community service, here's the way I see it. AADSAS used to have a section for extracurricular activities, volunteer and community service in different sections. Now it's all lumped in to one section. I applied last year so I don't know if you need to specify which category it falls into, but if you don't, then the question of whether volunteering at a church is community service or not is a moot point. Put it on there (specifying it was volunteer work if required) and let the ADCOM's figure it out.
  18. Oracle DMD

    Oracle DMD Chuck NOracle DMD Moderator Emeritus

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    like it was said previously, i don't consider teaching bible study or serving on a mormon mission, as being service. not specifically because it is religous, but because i dont think it is a service to people, but a service to your own faith. so i suppose the thought of counting it as community service comes off as indulgent.
  19. Ohaishasan

    Ohaishasan

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    Wouldn't this be the same as doing service only for application to Dental School?

    Even if you are assuming that LDS missionaries only work with those of their own faith, are they still not serving? Service is about giving time, talents, and energy. Regardless of the circumstances it was delivered, it is ultimately up to the individual to decide if it is counted. If you feel like you served then add it and then have an explaination as to why you did. This applies to all the examples of service you listed.

    Galatians 5:12-14
  20. Oracle DMD

    Oracle DMD Chuck NOracle DMD Moderator Emeritus

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    no i don't feel like it is the same and regardless, we are discussing actions and not motives becasue it is impossible to debate a persons ulitmate motives and it will turn into a philosophical arguement. in my opinion, a mormon mission/teaching bible classes is not a service to the community, it is a service to your own church/ service to yourself. i am aware that they may feel like they they are doing community service, but i don't.

    the discussion here was whether or not to include this under community service, and my point was that it depending on who is reading the app, it can take a negaitve turn. including it in your personal statement is one thing, i don't think it belongs in the community service section.
  21. alanan84

    alanan84 D1

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    So you're saying that if I provide service in my church, I'm not providing service to my community? Aren't they the same thing? How is providing service to a select group of people (from my community) in my church different from providing service to a select group of people that show up at a soup kitchen? Is it offensive because you disagree with it?

    Apart from that, on my mission, we provided a lot of service to people in need regardless of religion. We cleaned up after floods, taught english classes, donated food, clothing, even wheelchairs. Saying you provided some non-religious service is totally appropriate. We were supposed to do 2 hours of service a week on my mission. Sometimes we did less, sometimes more.

    I guess I'm saying if someone chooses to include something as community service, it means that they feel like they did something good for someone else. You can decide whether you think it's service or not but I'm not sure why it would offend anyone...
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  22. slm266

    slm266 D3

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    Something a Marquette recruiter said that got me thinking about service while on missions was this:

    "Sure, everyone is willing to donate cans or go to a soup kitchen around thanksgiving time, but not everyone will volunteer at the kitchen year-round." If you show weekly community service on the mission, expect weekly service after the mission for the service to mean anything.

    I didn't put my mission service on my map, but I thinks it's fine if other people do. I'm sure most ppl who have served some sort of mission or volunteer at their church also do many other things in their community. If church service is your only service, you are taking a gamble and it may not pay off (as far as DS admissions goes).

    As far as the whole "is serving members of a church serving the community", I think admissions just wants to see that you are willing to serve others. However, they'd like to see that you can be compassionate towards the less fortunate. You'll run into more patients that are poor than ones that you see every Sunday.
  23. SEG14

    SEG14

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    Just wanted to let you know my predent friend spent a weeks at IU's summer dental program and the advisor told them that the volunteer service does not have to be in the dental field and proceeded to give them other ideas of where to donate their time.....and church was one of them.
  24. Destiny11

    Destiny11

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    I don't know much about LDS...but is it mandatory for its members to go on missions or is it "looked down upon" if not doing one?
  25. biorenaissance

    biorenaissance

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    I agree my sister is an Evangelical and goes to malls and public places to "Save" people. I think its disgusting what these mega churches are using their man power towards what ever happened to helping the community? I realize people in what ever religion feel that by spreading their gospel it is helping people and maybe it does but it seems churches today (Catholics aside) have gone far from reaching out to those in need to now spreading the fear of the wrath of god to people. I only go to church on holidays now but last time I went the church during the service they advertised for the new gift shop in the lobby to go get your blessed goods lol.
  26. slm266

    slm266 D3

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    Young men at the age of 19 may choose to serve missions if they are living their lives according to the faith (unless circumstances do not permit serving a mission). Nothing is obligatory, but there is the expectation.
  27. 8 SNAKE

    8 SNAKE

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    You completely misinterpreted the intent of my post. I'm not demeaning anyone's volunteer experience and was most certainly not looking down on mission service. My comment about volunteering was pointed toward the difference between expected services (staff at a shelter is expected/required to be there) and people who walk in off the street with no obligation other than personal desire. Both are doing work for the benefit of others and I wouldn't look at one as "better" than the other.
  28. herkulease

    herkulease

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    Hmm. Interesting. I put down time volunteering at a buddhist temple mainly in their kitchen although I do get asked to help out with other things.

    Hopefully they don't knock me for that.
  29. amneil13

    amneil13

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    It's funny reading a thread about service to our fellow men and people are arguing about what counts and bla bla bla. Kind of interesting...
  30. Glimmer1991

    Glimmer1991 SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor

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    From skimming through, it looks like most of the argument is between counting church-related activities as "volunteer experiences" or "community service experiences." There is a fine line between the two, I suppose.

    Even as a religious person, I think it depends. Though it's awesome if a person teaches a Sunday school class, I don't think it should really be considered "community service." I do think it is volunteer work, though. The same would go with volunteering to help out at a local dentist's office--it's great, but not really "community service."

    However, if your church hosts monthly lunches for local homeless people and you help at these events, I do think the hours would count as "community service." It is volunteer work, too.

    It's sort of like how a square is always a rectangle, but a rectangle is not always a square. If something is community service (and you aren't being paid, obviously), it's also going to be volunteer work. However, if something is volunteer work, it isn't necessarily community service.

    This is entirely just my opinion. Luckily, though, this distinction doesn't even exist on the application. "Extracurricular/volunteer/community service" activities are all lumped together.
  31. NMC2010

    NMC2010 τετέλεσται

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    I don't think dental schools would consider Sunday school teaching community service. Generally, community service they look for is aimed at aiding people physically, not spiritually. It can also be aimed at environmental improvement (ex: roadside trash cleanup).

    Hang on a minute - Jesus did directly command Christians to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." I don't think this should disappoint you, as it's your sister's obligation as a Christian.

    It is indeed disappointing to see money being used so frivolously on things like gift shops, restaurants, and even gyms inside churches (instead of providing for the community and missions). As a matter of personal curiosity, why even bother going to church just a few times a year?
  32. sdnlurkeress

    sdnlurkeress

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    I think at the very least it would fit under extracurriculars on the application if not anything else. Not everyone volunteers to be a Sunday School teacher. I think even if its religious it shows that you have experience being a leader, are passionate about something, have practice interacting with other people in a professional manner and have a serving attitude. The last one is stressed a lot by the dental school I want to go to, that dentists are public servants. When I asked about these kind of activities I was always told to include them on your application because it shows that you are passionate about something. Yes you can gain that kind of experience from other activities but that doesn't mean you can't from this either.
  33. sdnlurkeress

    sdnlurkeress

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    I just noticed this thread was started four years ago. I really wonder what the OP decided to do and how that worked out for the individual.
  34. Miley Cyrus.

    Miley Cyrus. Eat. Sleep. Twerk.

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    I agree with you. You should see what Evangelicals are doing in the developing world and the disgusting techniques they use to convert people. In some places, it is causing violent unrest. Some of the conversions are even forced. I think the worst offenders of this are the Southern Baptists and Catholic Church.

    That being said a majority of the day-to-day Christians in America are genuinely interested in helping the poor.

    I think some people are afraid about listing it, because they buy this whole "There is a war against Christians" in America nonsense. There is absolutely no persecution against Christians in America. No one would look down on you for volunteering at your church. Now, if you keep talking about your faith in an essay and an interview, then yes I can see why they would (and should reject you): you are applying to a dental school, not a pastor position at a church.
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  35. joeeeey3

    joeeeey3

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    I taught sunday school kids for 4 years, and I put that down on my app.
    I guess some adcoms might like it, some might not but it turned out fine for me.
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