Identifying Meaningful Community Service Projects
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. This list should help students generate ideas for community service projects:
- United Way Agencies/Charities
- Daycare Centers
- City/County Governments
- School Libraries
- Civic Organizations
- Parks and Recreation
Convalescent homes / hospices / hospitals
- Political Organizations
- Cultural Centers/Museums
- Religious Organizations
Prior to beginning a community service project, students should contact their 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 Offices
- Industrial Firms
- Retail Stores
- Barber/Beauty Shops
- Gas Stations
MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS FOR GRADUATION
To complete the community service graduation requirements for Miami Dade County Public Schools, each student must complete a community service project. The project may be completed at any time during a student's high school year.
No prescribed number of service hours is required unless students are working toward the Superintendent's Diploma of Distinction or for several scholarships awarded under the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program where a minimum of 75 hours of service would then be required.