To be meaningful, community service projects must address a real need or problem found within the school or community. Students must be given the opportunity to select a project that reflects both the needs of the community and their personal interests and skills. In addition, quality community service projects require an on-going commitment on the part of students. Hastily planned, short-term projects do little to foster the purpose of community service: to provide service to the community and personal growth opportunities for students. The following criteria should be considered when a student selects a community service project:
- The project addresses a real community need or problem.
- The project provides the student with the opportunity to provide meaningful and vital community service.
- The project allows the student to gain a greater understanding of the community need on which they are working.
- The project reflects the student’s interests, talents, and abilities. The project provides the student with the opportunity to grow personally and academically.
- The project provides the opportunity for continuity of service and/or participation during the student’s school experience.
The organizations and agencies listed below typically welcome volunteers. Agencies must be a registered non-profit agency. This list should help students generate ideas for community service projects.
- United Way agencies/charities
- City/County Governments
- School Libraries
- Civic organizations
- Parks and Recreation Centers
- Political Organizations
- Convalescent homes/hospices/hospitals
- Cultural centers/museums
- Religious Organizations (excluding personal enrichment activities)
Prior to beginning a community service project, students should contact their school counselor to insure their choice meets the appropriate guidelines listed above. However, volunteering within a for-profit business or organization does not meet the acceptable community service guidelines and will not be accepted. The following list includes examples of unacceptable places to do community service projects.
- Professional office
- Industrial firms
- Retail stores
- Barber/beauty shops
- Gas stations
Meeting the Requirements for Credit and Bright Futures
A minimum of 75 hours of community service is required to receive ½ credit if a student desires to earn credit. A maximum of 1 credit will be granted although a student may volunteer more than 150 hours of service. The Florida Bright Futures Program requires: 100 hours of community service to qualify for the Florida Academic Scholar Award, 75 hours for Florida Medallion Award, and 30 hours for the Florida Gold Seal Award.