Citadel cadet Robert Daniell participated in community service activities on the military college’s annual Leadership Day for two consecutive years.

He’s now a junior who regularly does volunteer work, including helping high school students identify and build on their strengths.

That’s what college leaders hope will happen for all cadets who participate, said Conway Saylor, director of service learning and civic engagement.

More than 1,300 freshmen and sophomores participated in community service activities for the annual event Wednesday, she said.

Nearly 1,000 of them volunteered in 18 Charleston County schools, where a large percentage of the students come from lower income families. The rest fanned out among about 30 other community organizations.

“It’s a massive operation,” Saylor said. And it’s a great experience for cadets. Freshmen learn about community service, and sophomores lead groups of freshmen to complete the projects and activities. For many sophomores, it’s their first opportunity to lead, she said.

The primary goal of the event is to meet community needs, Saylor said. But cadets also learn to serve, and they are exposed to diverse groups of people.

While the freshmen and sophomores were out in the community, juniors and seniors attended workshops on ethics and leadership, Saylor said.

Daniell said the experience gained doing community service likely will be useful after he graduates and pursues a career in either law or psychology. “It opened opportunities and it opened doors.”

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.