Colleges, scholarships and an increasing number of high schools require students to have community service. Community service is a great way to develop character and responsibility. Community service projects are also a great way to provide practical learning opportunities.
Community service can include everything from activism for a cause such as the environment, a recycling drive or politics to helping a local homeless shelter or Habitat for Humanity. It also exposes students to different cultures and types of people.
Helping others is a good way to combat the self-contentedness that many teens and adults for that matter have. Building a home for a family in need can help teens learn to appreciate the things they have.
One note about community service requirements for college admission or scholarship is that many organizations do not consider mission trips as community service. Teaching in a Christian school most of my students had some form of community service but most of it was through mission trips. Many colleges consider mission trips as evangelism. For college and scholarship consideration it is good to also be involved activities that will be recognized as community service. Building homes for those in need can be counted but not building churches. Also, for college purposes it is good to participate in a variety of activities or causes.
In my opinion community service should be a part of any high school education.