By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – What is community service, anyway?

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The prosecutor in one of actress Lindsay Lohan’s criminal cases was furious to find out that to meet her community service requirement, she was counting 18 hours of meeting and greeting fans waiting for autographs outside her London play – or, as most people call it, being a celebrity.

What is community service, after all? And what counts?

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In some criminal cases, judges require a defendant to do “volunteer” work (in the ‘you don’t get paid’- not in the ‘you actually want to do it’ sense of the word). But there’s surprisingly little guidance on what counts as community service, and little or no help in finding it, particularly if there’s no parole officer assigned to your case.

Many city governments have volunteer opportunities listed on their websites so check there, as do local food pantries, community libraries, and large charitable organizations like Habitat for Humanity. But many jurisdictions won’t give credit for working with religious organizations so be sure to check your county’s rules.

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Community service is an opportunity to be a good person whether or not you are court-ordered to do so, and it may just keep you humble enough not to think that being a star is all the world deserves from you.