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Matt McNeill with complete books for The Central School, 4-21-2013, Success Won't WaitIs your child dreaming of ivy covered walls and a prestigious college sticker on the back of the family van? In addition to stellar grades, top SAT or ACT scores, leadership positions in sports and school extracurriculars, one resume listing just might tip the scales: community service.

According to Admissions Officier Carlos Cano in a recent article for CollegeRaptor, “Volunteering shows you’re engaged in your community. I would say these days, volunteer work may have a slight leg up on extracurricular activities in terms of “boosting” your application, because many institutions now incorporate Civic Engagement into the curriculum.”

True service is about passion and committment

In a recent interview, Richard Weissbourd of the Harvard Graduate School of Education explains, “The goal is meaningful academic engagement and spirited, passionate learning, and it’s meaningful ethical engagement. It’s being involved in your community, concern for others, concern for the greater good, for the public good.”

Getting kids and teens involved in community service in Delaware

If your student plans to make this a “summer of service,” it’s time to get started! First, ask yourself these three questions:

What is my child’s passion? Books? Sports? Animals? There are community service options to address absolutely every interest. From walk-a-thons, to beach clean-ups, to performing at local senior centers, finding the right match is crucial to help your child develop a love of serving others.

What are my child’s abilities? Its easy to overcommit when you are enthusiastic, so set some limits to start. Sustained effort is the goal.

What about the time commitment? Start slow. Let your student pick a project and finish it. The sense of accomplishment he will experience is worth the effort.

Locally, there are many places for kids of all ages to volunteer their time and talents. Visit Volunteer Delaware for an incredible array of options. This Division of State Service Centers within the State Office of Volunteerism strives to promote volunteer opportunities, community outreach, diverse volunteer outreach programs and many various resources to enhance the health and well-being of all Delawareans.

How to apply for the President’s Volunteer Service Award

As a Certifying Organization of the PRESIDENT’S VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD, Youth Service America awards the PVSA to those who meet or exceed the award criteria. Established in 2003, the PVSA is given by the President of the United States and honors individuals, families and groups who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to volunteer service over the course of 12 months.


To qualify for the PRESIDENT’S VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD, volunteers simply submit a record of their service hours to Youth Service America, and we will verify the service and award the PVSA. Volunteer service hours are not limited to those performed as part of Youth Service America programs. In fact, service hours can be accumulated through work on a variety of projects throughout the year. The only requirement is that the necessary hours be completed within 12 months; recipients can qualify for a new PVSA each year.

Kids ages 5-10 Teens 11-15 Young Adults 16-25
Bronze Award 26-49 hours 50-74 hours 100-249 hours
Silver Award 50-74 hours 75-99 hours 175-249 hours
Gold Award 75+ hours 100+ hours 250+ hours

To apply  visit https://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov.

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