Schools Trim Service hours to Help Students Go For Quality, Not Quantity

Douglas Quenqua:

IT’S a rainy November Saturday in Yonkers, and all across town, high school students are engaged in the relentless pursuit of community service hours.
Five students from Horace Mann, a private school in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, are spackling and painting a half-gutted, partly bullet-riddled home on Porach Street so that a new family can move in. (Three hours.)
On the other side of town, students from Lincoln High School, a public school in Yonkers, are raucously demolishing the basement of a thrift store on Riverdale Avenue, to create space for storage. (Four hours.)
Meanwhile, on East 27th Street in Manhattan, a hostess at the upscale barbecue restaurant Blue Smoke is turning away the fifth person who showed up a day early looking to make crafts for underprivileged children. The restaurant’s Web site had the right date, she insists, but students these days seem pretty desperate to volunteer. (Come back tomorrow; two hours.)