Each September I meet with my senior students about their post-secondary plans.  Before our individual  meetings, I visited the senior classrooms to go over their expectations for our time together. One of my seniors, along with his family, came to their meeting with their completed to do list. The student had chosen his 3-5 schools to visit, he had applied for the NCAA Clearinghouse, the student had taken the SAT and ACT twice, and the family was planning to attend one of our local college PROBE fairs.  As we were talking, the conversation eventually turned to community service. At this point, the student had never been active in clubs or community service so the subject never gained much attention in our conferences.  However in this meeting, the student pulled out a list of clubs of interest and told me that his goal was to get into as many clubs as possible.  In addition to joining clubs, the parents wanted to know what community service projects were possible to bring in scholarship opportunities.  I told the student and his family that it would be difficult to fulfill four years of club participation and service in one year.  However, the student protested that he could still join several clubs, complete 600 hours of community service, and compete in sports sucessful…ummmm, I don’t think so!

Community Service and College Attendance

Do Something.org conducts a survey of colleges on community service and college admissions.  In their results, they found that admissions representatives preferred that students be consistently involved a few causes rather than a wide variety.  Also, college representatives felt strongly that social change is not just something to mention on your application; however, they want to see your passion and how you contributed to that change through your service.  Unfortunately, this is something that few students address during their school career or school counselors fail to educate their students about in high school.

Community Service and Steps to College

As a counselor, it is our role to educate students and their parents about how community service can impact college admissions and scholarship opportunities.  Often our students are so busy, that they cannot find the space in their schedule to fit in one more activity.  While meeting with students, find out about their activities and passions and help them create or seek out community service opportunities.  Here are some ideas for students:

1.  For business savvy students, have them think about creating a non-profit.
2.  For students that are talented or athletic, have them consider teaching others.  For instance, have a student think about giving free lessons on the guitar.
3.  For creative students, have them create a kit for students who may be homeless, taking finals, new to the school, etc.
4.  For students who attend church, synagogue, or mosque, have them consider working in the nursery or with vacation bible school.
5.  For entrepreneurial students, have them consider organizing a fundraiser for a charity like Relay for Life or the Red Cross.
6.  For socially conscience students, give them information about serving in local food banks or soup kitchens.
7. For environmentally conscience students, suggest that they create or organize an event like a recycling drive, a park cleanup, or a campus cleanup.
8.  For patriotic students, suggest they organize and send care packages or thank you notes to soldier.
9.  For students with free summers, give them information about summer camps and how they can serve as a lifeguard, a camp counselor, or volunteer.
10. For artist students, show them they can use their skills as a face painter at a fall carnival.
11. For students interested in the medical field, suggest they volunteer at a hospital or nursing home.
12. For politically minded students, have them consider volunteering for a political candidate.
13. For academic minded students, arrange for them to tutor struggling students.  One way to do this is to create a peer tutoring program at your school. 

Peer Tutor Training
Peer Tutoring-Putting Together the Pieces
Launching and Monitoring Your Peer Tutoring Program
Peer Tutors Behaviors
Use of Praise by Tutors
Building Reading Fluency
Peer Tutor Graduation
Kids as Reading Helpers

How to Set Up a Successful Peer Tutoring Program

Toolkits to Set Up Community Service

Service Learning Toolkit

Community Service Ideas
Student Service Learning Manual
Service Learning Handbook
Youth Changing the World: Service Project Toolkit

Semester of Service

Community Service Tipsheet

Getting the Word Out

What Comes Next: Making Your Project Bigger and Better

Making Your Project Happen

Service Day Kits

Preparing for Service Webinars

Community Service and Summer Programs Across the US

Community Service Through Peer Helping

 Training and Webinars

Go Lead Institute and Training
Became a facilitator for community service in your school.

Generation On Webinar
Guiding students to become engaged community service learning-learning 21st century skills.

Service Learning Webinar

Community Service Ideas

50 Community Service Ideas for Teens

365 Community Service Ideas

5 Outside the Box Fundraisers

Generation On Livebinder
Resources for educators and students for community service.

How to Start a Peer Mentoring Program
Support materials from Do Something.com

Peer Mentoring Matching Form from Wayland HS

Link Crew Training Outline
Freshmen Transition Program

Service Organizations and Events

Youth In the Driver’s Seat

Do Something Campaigns and Projects

Website with lots of ideas for hosting events, projects, campaigns.  Students can even apply for scholarships.

Global Youth Service Day
Each April, join or create a youth service project.

Random Acts of Kindness-High School Ideas
February is the month for kind acts.

National Day of Service and Remembrance
September 11th

MLK National Day of Service

January 20th

Peer Assisted Leadership Skills
The mission of the PAL® Peer Assistance and Leadership program is to enable young people to use their potential to make a difference in their lives, schools and communities.

Celebrate My Drive

Celebrate My Drive® encourages teens to make positive choices as they begin driving. The 100 high schools with the most commitments will be awarded a total of $3.25 million* in grants:

  • 2 schools receive a $100,000 grant and a Grand Prize Concert by a chart-topping musical artist
  • 8 schools get a $100,000 grant
  • 90 schools get a $25,000 grant

National Teen Driver Safety Week, October 15-24, 2014

Kohl’s Cares Scholarship
Kohl awards up to $10,000 for a national winners who share excellence in volunteerism.

National Service Learning

The Youth Leadership for Service-Learning Excellence Award recognizes service-learning programs and projects that demonstrate outstanding youth leadership. This award focuses on projects that show a high level of youth initiative in all areas including identifying an authentic need, planning the service, and putting that plan into action. Teams of young people participating in service-learning projects can apply.

Habitat for Humanity

National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that helps more than 5 million Americans improve the lives of their fellow citizens through service.

Setting Up a Red Cross Youth Club Toolkit

Interact Club
Part of Rotary International which carries out two service learning projects per year.

Key Club
A service learning club that is an extension of the Kiwanis Club.

Setting Up a Students Against Destructive Decisions Club

Students Against Violence Everywhere

Establishing a Teens in the Driver’s Seat Chapter

Pacer’s Teens Against Bullying Action Kit

Stomp Out Bullying Campaign

October 6th

Day of Pink
Stand up against bullying on April 8th
Youth Court
Boys and Girls Club
Community Service Projects

Notes from Shawn-Ends Oct. 10th
Give positive notes to stranger to boost strangers’ self esteem.

I Beat Bullying
Opportunity Ends Oct. 30th for sharing how you overcame bullying.

Host a Senior Social
Host a social to ease transition into your school.

Teens Against Suicide

Make a Birthday Card for a Child Experiencing Homelessness-$10,000 scholarship

Mind My Money
$7,500 scholarship for conducting financial workshops for younger students.

Operation Gratitude
Students are able to make and send care packages to soldiers.

Unicef Trick or Treat
Have students collect money for impoverished children.

Under the Tree
Collect gifts for teens for the holidays.

Project Heal
Raise money for teens who need treatment for an eating disorder.

Create the Good
Create your own community service projects.

Please feel free to share your ideas about community service and service learning


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