Service Learning, Our Responsibility

By Sharif Ruebin
YO:Durham Intern
The Durham VOICE

Empty beer bottles, scattered paper, plastic bags and food wrappers all accumulate over time.

Littering is a big problem in Northeast Central Durham, and I experienced this in an Adopt-A-Highway service event.

The Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School’s chapter of the National Honor Society recently participated in an Adopt-A-Highway service learning event.

Members of the Josephine Dobbs Clement Early College High School's chapter of the National Honor Society stand in front of their Adopt-A-Highway sign across from John W. Neal Middle School. Students recently took time out of their Tuesday morning to make Baptist Road off of Highway 98 a cleaner place to bike and drive. They include, (back row, left to right) Jason Noris, Neal Hairston IV, Sharif Ruebin, Brittany Coleman, Jose Esteban, and Brianna Pearson; (front, left to right) Savana Everhart, Melissa Frick, Abria Bradby, Ingrid Bravo, Karina Tebalan, Darian Handley, Alania Tran, and Bailey Clemmons. (Photo courtesy of Crystal Lucas)


Adopt-A-Highway is a program that encourages volunteers to keep a section of the highway free of liter.  An organization is allowed to post a sign with their name on it on the section of the highway they maintain.

We spent one morning right before Christmas picking up trash along a section of Baptist Road, a side road off of Hwy 98 here in Durham. This road leads to Falls Lake.

“It was very enlightening because it showed how dirty the community actually was,” according to Neal Hairston, a member of National Honor Society. “It also helped me learn that just by doing a little cleaning it can greatly change a landscape.”

“I was in great awe at the change of the road we were on,” he said.

For me it was also a good experience. I am a person who enjoys service learning.  It is a way to give back and it also makes me feel good when I do it because I’m just not sitting back observing but I’m getting involved.

I did not expect for it to be that bad, but as we went on farther down the highway, trash started accumulating.  I truly realized why littering is illegal; someone has to pick it up.

After observing the highway on our way back, I saw it was totally different from the beginning.

Hairston stated that he would do it again because he is helping his community achieve better surroundings, and doing it with friends is fun.

“Helping people is one thing that I love a lot,” said Hairston. “I would definitely recommend service learning to others because it really helps you learn about situations going on through out the community and helps you meet new people.”

Being American citizens, one of our many responsibilities is community service.  We first have to help ourselves before we ask others.

I encourage others to take part in some form of community service.