I believe quite strongly in community service, whether it is performed through the efforts of a family, a school, a workplace, or individually. Community service benefits the server, those whom he or she serves, and society in general.
Community service benefits the person who is performing it in many ways. The person gains skills and experience that he or she might otherwise not have gained. The person finds new networks of people who may be helpful in the future. The person gains a deep satisfaction in helping those in need, a better sense of the connectedness of the community, that we cannot do without one another.
The people who are being helped, of course, reap the obvious benefit of the help they receive. There are so many ways to help people. The list is endless. You might visit those who are in the hospital or in nursing homes, to just cheer up their days. You can read stories to kindergartners who might not hear stories at home. You can clean up a neighborhood or help groom dogs at a local shelter. People need all sorts of help.
Society in general reaps the benefit of community service because even when we perform this service on a very small scale, it has a ripple effect. Those who have been helped are likely to "pay it forward" and help others. A clean neighborhood makes people more well-behaved, believe it or not. The kindergartner to whom you read stories is more likely to complete school and help others in the future.
There is no down side whatsover to community service. And there are more advantages than I can even name.