Motivating youth through the President's Volunteer Service Award

Honoring service contributions

In this section, we'll answer the questions:

The awards and how to earn them

Meeting the President's challenge

In his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush asked Americans to dedicate at least 4,000 hours (or two years) during the course of their lives to helping their neighbors and their nation. The President's Volunteer Service Award was established as a way to thank Americans who are rising to that challenge and inspiring others in the process.

Any individual, family, or team can earn awards at the bronze, silver, and gold levels. See the table for the number of volunteer hours required over a 12-month period for different age groups:

Award LevelKids (Under 14)Young AdultsAdultsFamilies & Groups
Gold100 or more250 or more500 or more1,000 or more
President's Call to Service Award4,000 hours or more over a lifetime for all ages

A President's Call to Service Award is given to volunteers of all ages who give 4,000 or more hours after a lifetime. Award winners can receive:

  • An official lapel pin
  • Personalized certificate of achievement
  • Congratulatory letter from the President of the United States
  • A letter from the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation

To date, 730,000 volunteers have earned these awards, bestowed by 28,000 certifying organizations. Find more information at:

The voice of experience…

Awards like this help youth "find out what they are giving is valued, that they are appreciated. It is a new experience for these kids because they don't get kudos in other areas of their lives."—Maureen Byrne, Kids Care Clubs Points of Light and Hands-On Network, Darien, CT

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How you can partner with the awards program?

Who qualifies to give the awards?

Groups and organizations like yours can officially recognize your volunteers with the award. It isn't difficult to sign up to become a certifying organization. Do it online at Faith-based institutions, nonprofit or community-based organizations, civic, fraternal, or service groups, and businesses can all qualify.

As a certifying organization, you agree to:

  • Verify that the volunteer has completed the service hours required to earn the award
  • Nominate verified volunteers by submitting an order form to purchase the award
  • Pay the nominal cost for the award (plus shipping), either directly or through a sponsor *
  • Receive the award and present it to the recipient

* Volunteers can also be recognized with the honor for free and have their names included in the list of honorees on the award Web site.

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Tracking volunteer hours

Creating a Record of Service

Youth volunteers often keep a private journal or log of their experiences and time spent volunteering. A handy online Record of Service form is available at (See the Tools section for additional tracking forms. Think about incorporating recordkeeping into your program, not only for volunteer recognition but also for other purposes like reports to donors or sponsors.)

Volunteers under 14 can ask a parent, guardian, or other adult to help them log onto the site and track their hours. Those 14 and older can create their own online record.

The voice of experience…

Awards like the President's Service Award "need to be part of a ceremony—a graduation or an end of school or church event. It would be something [kids] feel proud of."—Ben McLeish, Desire Street Ministries, New Orleans, LA

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