CMS Service Learning » Community Issues

Community Issues

Each topic on the related pages highlights a general  area of concern within our community.  On each of those pages, you will find more specific issues that are of local or global concern. Browse the related pages and you are sure to come away with ideas for getting involved and improving our world. As you look through the topics, jot down ones that intrigue you. Write as many as you like, then narrow your choices to your top five. Explore those a bit more before you make a final choice.

Ask Yourself:

  • What makes this issue important to address?
  • Who is most affected by this issue and why?
  • How does this issue differ in my community, the state, the nation, and the world?
  • What current solutions are being tried, and which are successful?
  • How can I add my efforts to solving this issue?
  • How will I know if I have made an impact?


How animals are treated matters both to animals and to people. This concept is part of a broader understanding of the interdependence of all living things. 

Issues related to Animals:
  • Ethical treatment of farm/food animals
  • Ethical treatment of animals held in captivity
  • Spay/Neuter to prevent overpopulation
  • Use of animals for therapy
  • Use of animals for research
  • Dwindling wildlife habitat
  • Endangered species
  • Invasive species of animals
  • Animal breeding
  • Animal Intelligence
  • Keeping undomesticated animals as pets
  • Feral animals
Ideas for Volunteering with Animals:
  • Animal Shelters
  • Equine Therapy
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation


Human rights include a variety of aspects, from civil and political rights, to socioeconomic rights. How these rights are protected or abused is often the subject of many community and global policies. Advocacy for human rights lies at the cornerstone of our country. Below are a few suggestions of areas to explore.

Human Rights: 

  • Racial equity
  • Religious freedom
  • Women’s rights
  • Children’s rights
  • Legal rights
  • Rights of indigenous poeples
  • Surveillance
  • Speech
  • Internet
  • Media
  • Education
  • Censorship
  • Justice
  • Economic rights
  • Protection (Military, Police, Arms)
  • Immigrant rights


Music, art, dance, theater, and story-telling are integral parts of the human experience. These forms of artistic expression add meaning and depth to our existence, expand our conceptual thinking, and showcase our dynamic relationships with each other and our world.

Students may wish to explore information on these and other Arts related issues:

  • Arts education funding
  • Intellectual Rights/ Piracy
  • Arts Therapy
  • Cultural Identity



There are many inter-related issues causing hunger, which are related to economics and other factors that cause poverty.

Hunger Issues:

  • Poverty
  • Availability of healthy food
  • “Food Desert”
  • Land use
  • Famine
  • Drought
  • Ineffective farming methods
  • Over-fishing
  • Pollution
  • Pests
  • Agricultural practices
  • Poor soil maintenance
  • Over-population
  • Import/ export of food


Bullying and other forms of violence are too prevalent in our communities. Such acts are detrimental to the development of children, causing fear and anxiety to supercede healthy relationship building.

Issues related to violence:

  • Bullying
  • Domestic violence
  • Cultural oppression
  • Bigotry
  • Racial violence
  • Gender Bias
  • Identity/ Sexual Orientation Violence


Developing a sense of self or an identity is an essential part of every individual becoming mature. Identity or parts of identity may be classified by any number of things such as religion, race, sexual preference, gender, and/or ethnicity. What happens when the perception of reality does not match the ideal? How much pressure is there to conform to social norms?

Issues related to Identity:

  • Eating Disorders
  • Cultural Identity
  • Cultural Values
  • Regional Identity Bias
  • Bullying
  • Victimization
  • Objectification
  • Profiling
  • Age Bias
  • Social Norming
  • Media Stereotyping
  • Religious Preference
  • Racial Inequity
  • Racial Bias
  • Gender Bias
  • Sexual Orientation


Economics drive our community development, and our community sustains our economic growth. Economic issues arise when the community disagrees with the practices and regulations regarding how we spend our monetary resources on our non-monetary resources.

Economics Issues:

  • Small Business Funding
  • Minority-Owned Businesses
  • Equitable Access to Goods/Services
  • Taxes
  • Salary Equity
  • Minimum Wage
  • Job Opportunities
  • Affordable Education and Housing Loans
  • Cost of living
  • Credit/ Savings rate
  • Microfinancing
  • Workforce training


Military personnel and veterans are an integral part of every community, yet each local and global community struggles with issues regarding these citizens. Some people openly support military members and veterans, while others do not. Also, many veterans return from service with residual medical issues that require long term care and rehabilitation.

Issues related to Military Service and Veterans:

  • Affordable housing
  • Gender/ Racial equity
  • Health care
  • Family support for active-duty personnel
  • Children of absentee family members
  • Job Retraining
  • Downsizing Military
  • Frequent relocation
  • Educational parity due to relocation
  • JROTC program funding
  • SROTC funding
  • Economic impact of state military bases
  • Economics of building/ upkeep of ships and planes
  • Weapon disposal
  • Demobilization


To prepare people for the jobs of the future , we have to provide a quality education that can equip students with transferable and flexible skills and that starts with a strong school system. A number of issues and controversies now face educators and communities.

Education Issues:

  • Equity in educational opportunities
  • Single gender classrooms
  • Arts funding in education
  • Standardized testing
  • Standards-based curriculum
  • Career/Technical educational opportunities
  • Character education
  • College Tuition/Loans
  • Technology in the classroom
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Individualized education plans
  • Teacher recruitment/ training/ compensation
  • Bullying in schools
  • Early Childhood educational opportunities
  • Public v. Private education
  • Alternative education
  • Charter Schools
  • Vouchers
  • Discipline


Poverty reduction is a major concern of our local and global communities. Systemic issues related to poverty plague every corner of the globe. Sometimes poverty is defined by social context.

Issues related to Poverty:

  • Public Transportation
  • Affordable Housing
  • Availability of healthy, affordable food
  • Segregation
  • Job Training
  • Crime
  • Educational opportunities
  • Health care
  • Welfare programs
  • Infant mortality
  • Disability
  • Hunger
  • Affordable energy resources
  • Minimum Wage
  • Taxes
  • Breaking the cycle
  • Substance abuse/ trafficking
  • Human trafficking/ exploitation
  • Aging and poverty
  • Rural poverty
  • Urban poverty


The interdependence of humans and our natural environment, the growing population, the increasing scarcity of resources, human impact on the health of the environment, are all concerns of our community, as well as the world. Earth is finite in size, and capacity to support and sustain life. How we manage our planet affects us all.

Environmental Issues:

  • Air quality
  • Water quality/ availability
  • Human Impact — Land usage, pollution, overpopulation, etc
  • Landfills
  • Industrial pollution
  • Severe weather — Flooding, drought, heat, cold, hurricanes, tornadoes
  • Invasive species of plants
  • Climate change
  • Conservation
  • Sustainability
  • Energy conservation/ renewable resources
  • Genetic engineering
  • Recycling
  • Food supply


Sustainability refers to making sure our resources can support our community, now and in the future. The areas relating to sustainability include environmental, social and economic aspects.

Issues related to Sustainability:

  • Urban regeneration
  • Community development and cultural diversity
  • Energy and water
  • Transportion
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Pollution and waste management
  • Climate change
  • Resource efficiency
  • Carbon footprint
  • Workforce development
  • Social justice and equality
  • Citizenship and governance
  • Globalization
  • Consumerism
  • Ethical trade
  • Renewable energy
  • Recycling
  • Food production
  • Eating locally grown food


Issues relating to health and health care impact nearly every aspect of our lives. They also consume a large percentage of our incomes. Think about how these issues are specifically impacting your community or the populations of the world.

Health Issues:

  • Nutrition
  • Fitness 
  • Aging
  • Developmental concerns
  • Access to healthy food choices
  • Health education
  • Access to quality health care
  • Access to affordable insurance
  • Mental Health
  • Infant Mortality
  • Stress
  • Access to affordable medication
  • Preventative health care
  • Preventable Diseases
  • Genetic Diseases
  • Environmental Diseases
  • Physician training


The Internet has become a global platform for communication, commerce and individual expression. It is also an essential ingredient of economic growth and job creation, education, and globalization.

Issues related to Technology:
  • Cybersecurity and Internet Policy
  • Patents/ Intellectual Property
  • Bringing technology from “Lab to Market”
  • 21st Century Digital Infrastructure
  • Education/ Learning Technologies
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Robotics
  • Open Data Initiatives
  • Health care/ Bioethics
  • Access equity
  • Children and the Internet
  • Ethics/ Human Rights
  • Regulations
  • The Digital Divide


Homelessness is a concern for most communities. Homeless children, families and individuals need support, yet there is often controversy over what support is appropriate and how it will be funded.

Homelessness Issues:

  • Adequate shelters
  • Safety for the homeless
  • Funding shelters
  • Schooling homeless children
  • Job training
  • Begging
  • Domestic Violence
  • Health Care
  • Economic security
  • Reintegrating into society
  • Subsidized housing
  • Substance abuse