ASHS->Academics->Service Learning->What Service Activities Count?

What Counts?

  • Working on an (after) school based service project such as the Eyeglasses Project, Quilts for Kids (if you turn in a completed quilt), the Red Cross Club, or Martin Luther King Day of Service Committee
  • Service projects through the Key Club, Leo Club, Red Cross Club, or Building with Books (a reasonable amount of time can be counted for planning, preparation, and celebrating your accomplishments, but not every meeting can be counted as SERVICE to the community)
  • Walk-A-Thons may be counted for the actual hours that you participate but only if you are making a minimum $15 financial contribution, as the intent of the walks is primarily fundraising
  • Only actual, unpaid, time spent in performance at or for a charitable event will count for musical performances and theatrical productions.
  • Mentorship projects such as leading childrenR17;sR17; youth groups, leading younger scouts, coaching childrenR17;s teams, etc.
  • Leadership training that takes place outside of school
  • Time spent on in-depth research for some aspect of your service project (up to 3 hours), such as AIDS, hunger, or a social issue.
  • Service Learning that takes place during regular school hours, such as Poppy Bear helpers, Library Aids, and School Store work will count toward an award but not toward the Pennsylvania Graduation Project (these hours must take place in the community)
  • Internships where a service to the community is performed
  • Working on political campaigns and at the polls on Election Day (new this year)
  • Faith-based activities that include volunteering to teach Sunday School; Vacation Bible School; painting and cleaning the church, mosque, or synagogue (does not count for the Congressional Award); mentoring children after school; youth group community-based service projects

What Does Not Count?

  • Something done for your family such as painting your house, moving, or taking care of a grandparent*
  • Activities done for able-bodied neighbors such as moving, painting, and lawn care
  • Managing or being on an athletic team or stage crew are considered extra-curricular activities and do not meet the definition of service to the community*
  • Activities where you pay to learn a skill or craft (dance, filmmaking, athletics)*
  • Hosting a foreign exchange student
  • Working for a business when you are not paid*
  • Babysitting
  • Eating, sleeping, worship, and playtime on a mission trip
  • A contribution to R16;drivesR17; such as prom gowns, books, soda tabs, coats, food, and toiletries. There are two exceptions: blood for the American Red Cross (three hours), and a toy donation of $5.00 or more for Toys for Tots (one hour).
  • Activities that take place during a normal worship service such as ushering, participation in choir, playing music for a service, or other worship activities
  • Door-to-door proselytizing
While these activities do not meet the definition of service, it is possible that they may be counted toward the Congressional Award, which is a federal program that includes personal growth experiences.

New Federal Guidelines on Faith-Based Activities

  • The following activities may now be counted for the PresidentR17;s Volunteer Service Award and include, but are not limited to:
  • Volunteering to teach Sunday school (mentorship)
  • Volunteering for arts and crafts or recreation at Vacation Bible School
  • Painting, cleaning, or work performed for the church, mosque, or synagogue (however this does not count for the Congressional Award)
  • Direct, community service activities performed as a youth group
  • Mentoring children after school
  • Mission trips (excluding eating, sleeping, and worship time)

What does not count?


Activities that take place during the normal worship service are considered outside the PresidentR17;s Volunteer Service Award guidelines. This means that ushering, participation in the choir, playing music, babysitting in the church nursery, or other activities that are practiced during worship hours are not counted.

** These rules do not necessarily apply to the Congressional Award. If you are a participant, check your Blue book for details.