Community Service

Community Service

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Varsity Letter in Community Service

    Princeton students grades 7-12 will now be able to earn a Varsity Letter by completing community service work.  The community service letter is an award earned by students who go above and beyond when it     comes to serving others. Students who meet specific criteria in the area of community service will be awarded a Varsity Letter.

    Student requirements:

  1. 100 hours of community service completed in a 12 month timeframe, from January 1st-December 31st. At least 50 hours must be in a non-school related activity unaffiliated with high school (i.e. nonprofit organization, church group, etc.) Students must have at least one school related activity (no hour requirement).
  2. A record of all service hours verified by an adult supervisor
  3. Two recommendation letters from organizations or people served that describe the work completed and the student’s attitude and competence.
  4. Reflection Project – Ideas include a work of art, song, written reflection, journal, video, powerpoint, children’s book, presentation on an issue your service addressed
  5. Students must be academically eligible (2.0 or above GPA) and chemically free during the year to participate in this program.

    Students who meet the criteria earn a varsity letter in community service and will be recognized at a breakfast in May.

    Dates and Deadlines: 

    By January 15 – Application to Letter in Community Service

    By February 1 – Reflection Project Presentation

    May – Community Service Letter Recognition Breakfast

  •     Students and their families are invited to attend this celebratory breakfast for service letter recipients.

    Varsity Letter Requirement Details

Application form needs to be submitted along with the following requirements:

  1. Requirement 1: 100 Hours of Service, 50 of which are non-school related, and includes at least 1 school related activity. Students may use community service completed with non-profit agencies of their choice, faith-based organizations, hospitals, nursing homes, parks and school. At least 50 hours need to be non-school related (not organized through NHS, a school sport, etc.)  If there are questions about whether or not something qualifies as service, contact Jill Overby in the PHS Career Center, jill.overby@isd477.org or 763-389-6069. It is highly recommended that students check in with Jill in May to make sure their service hours are being counted correctly. Click here for a list of local volunteer opportunities.
  2. Requirement 2: Log of service hours- track your hours using the Princeton Community Service Varsity Letter Log of Hours. All hours must be verified (signature required) by the organization where service is performed or by a parent or adult supervisor. Students who are also tracking hours for the President’s Volunteer Service Award may track their hours online and submit that spreadsheet as well.
  3. Requirement 3: Recommendations- Students must obtain two recommendations (letter or pre-written form) from agencies or individuals served that describe the volunteer work completed and the student’s attitude. Note that recommendations must be from non-relatives who are familiar with the student’s service work. Click here for recommendation form.
  4. Requirement 4: Reflection Project- Students will present their project in front of a committee. Students will schedule this meeting with Jill Overby at the high school or Sarah Marxhausen at the middle school for 7 and 8 grade students.  The purpose of the project is to reflect on their service and demonstrate their knowledge and/or understanding of particular service area(s), and/or the importance of community service in general.
  5. Requirement 5: Academically Eligible & Chemical Free- Students must hold a 2.0 GPA or above, and remain chemically free throughout the year to participate in this program. Students will verify that to be true on the application form due January 15.

    Project ideas:

  • Create a work of art- painting, sculpture, song, video, etc.
  • Write a research paper or journal focusing on an aspect of the service
  • Construct a collage/display board/scrapbook/PowerPoint including pictures, description of service experiences, thoughts, feeling, etc.
  • Write and illustrate a children’s book
  • Give a presentation on an issue your service addresses 

    The Presidential Volunteer Service Award is separate from the Varsity Letter in Community Service. This is a national award initiative through the Corporation of National and Community Service. If a student completes 100-174 hours over a 12-month period, they would qualify for the “Bronze Level” Presidential Volunteer Service Award. See the following link for more information: www.presidentialserviceawards.gov


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Who can participate?

  • Princeton students grades 7-12

    The requirements state that I have to complete at least 50 hours in a “non-school” activity. What type of volunteer work counts as a non-school activity?

  • Work in a non-school activity may be completed with a non-profit agency, faith organization, or governmental agency. Here are some examples: Volunteering at Fairview Northland, an animal shelter, food shelf, nursing home, etc.
  • If you have questions whether the service you’re doing could be counted toward this requirement, please contact Jill in the Career Center at jill.overby@isd477.org or 763-389-6069 or Sarah Marxhausen at the middle school at sarah.marxhausen@isd477.org or 763-389-6751

    The requirements state that I have to complete at least one “school activity”. What type of volunteer work counts as a school activity and how many hours do I need?

  • Here are just a few examples of school activities: Participating in a community service project through a school club or sport (National Honor Society, E-Club, Hockey, FFA etc.), assisting a teacher before/after school or during the summer (non-family member and not during the school day), assisting at sporting events, concerts, theater productions (if not required for a class).
  • There is NO hour requirement for school-related activities. Sometimes work done through a school group can be counted as school related OR non-school related work if the work was done with an outside organization (i.e. Leo Club participating in Relay for Life). You may count the hours where you need them.

    Can I letter more than once?

  • Yes! Students can earn up to six service letters, one each school year in grades 7-12. Students cannot receive a service letter for years passed.

    If I receive a stipend for my service, can I count the hours?

  • No, students should not receive any money for service performed.

    How do I count my time for overnight experiences (camp counselor, mission trip, etc.)?

  • Students should only count hours when they are engaged in service. Sleeping hours do not count.

    Can I count hours for club meetings?

  • If you participate in a school club (one where hours are NOT already counted toward another varsity letter), scouts, youth group, etc, you may count hours spent at meetings organizing or participating in a service project. Only those hours will count as community service hours.   

    Can I count my time helping with yard or housework?

  • Any yard work or housework organized through an agency can be counted. It’s also counted in cases where you are assisting an individual on your own, be a person in need, not related to you or living in the same household, and work must be unpaid.

    What else does not count for service hours?

  • Court mandated community service or volunteer experience required for a class
  • Travel time to and from community service destinations
  • Service hours that count toward another varsity letter (sports team managers, participants in choir or theatre performances, etc.)

    Who do I contact if I have additional questions?