Michigan Student Service Award
About the Program
Of course volunteering is a great way to get involved, as well as help out those in need, but did you know that as a high school student, you can receive community-wide recognition for volunteering in your area?
The Michigan Student Service Award (MSSA) Program is a way of recognizing high school graduates who volunteer a significant number of hours to benefit their community, through service and volunteerism, during the course of their high school career.
Similar to other awards bestowed on graduating seniors of talent, commitment and perseverance in academics and athletics, the MSSA program honors those special students who participate in activities outside of high school that make their community a better place to live. A medallion and certificate signed by the Governor rewards their commitment to helping other people and organizations in a significant way!
Students record their volunteer hours and in turn, can earn an engraved medallion and certificate from the Governor presented at their award ceremonies.
How does the program work?
As soon as a student graduates middle school, they can begin volunteering their time towards the MSSA program. (Hours cannot be earned while in middle school, but can begin the summer before their freshmen year in high school.)
Over the course of their high school career, students complete and document 400 hours of non-paid community service. These activities must meet a recognized community need, and be undertaken through nonprofit organizations, government programs, community groups, or schools.
Students obtain signatures on a volunteer activity tally sheet from the agency staff who supervised each of the activities in which they have been involved. At least once a semester, they submit this documentation to their guidance counselor (who turns it in to the Volunteer Center), or they may turn their documentation in directly with the Volunteer Center.
Seniors who have reached the 400 hour goal will be required to complete a reflective essay in order to qualify for the award.
You might be wondering what types of activities qualify as volunteer service under the Michigan Student Service Award. The simple answer is:
Any activities that are directly linked to providing needed services or bettering the community in which you live are acceptable.
• Does the activity take place outside of a designated class period?
Study hall & open hour are not class periods.
• Is there no personal or group membership gain from this activity?
Example: time off, getting out of class, a wage, class credit, a grade, etc.)
• Does the activity provide a service to a group or an individual in need of assistance?
I.e.: it is not merely for entertainment.
• Is the service given out of your own free will and not the result of a punishment?
• Is the service provided to an individual or community organization that has no relation to you or your family?
If you can answer "YES" to ALL of the following questions, your volunteer service qualifies! A key takeaway is that if you receive any type of compensation, your activity is not considered volunteering.
• Litter pickup on highways, parks, rivers, etc.
• Tutoring or mentoring
• Befriending a nursing home resident
(spending time with, reading to, etc.)
• Nonprofit office & administrative work
(group must not be linked to you in any way)
• Working at community fundraisers
• Salvation Army bell ringing
• Food bank collection
• Advocacy for local nonprofit
• Community beautification
(tree/flower planting, gardening, etc.)
• Community mural painting
• YAC & Key Club
• Prepare or distribute meals to homeless
• Creative activities
(make & give blankets to children in hospital, etc.)
• Make & distribute care packages to needy
• Building houses for Habitat for Humanity
• Animal care/cage cleaning/dog walking for local animal shelter
• Non-paid work for elderly or disabled neighbor
(shoveling, raking, etc.)
• Working at a local senior center
• Non-paid website creation for a local nonprofit
• Bible School
• Concessions at sporting events
• Coaching/ Classroom assistant
• Mission trips outside county
• Athletic participation
(Football, baseball, gymnastics, wrestling, etc.)
• Ski-ters participation
• Community theatre, band or chorus
• Drama club
• Pep Band
• Dance or sports performances
• Fundraising for your group's benefit
(selling tickets for a 50/50 raffle that will benefit your cheerleading group)
• Volunteering or doing work for a family member or family member's place of business
• Club meetings
• Student council
Childcare at church
• Volunteer work done for school credit
• Campaign work for political candidate
What types of volunteer activities qualify?
How is my committment recognized?
Students who have reached the 400 hour local community service goal and reflective essay will be recognized by:
• Receiving an engraved MSSA Medallion of Distinction
• Receiving a Certificate of Distinction for Commitment to Service
(signed by the Governor of the State of Michigan & the local Volunteer Center MSSA Coordinator)
• Community-wide recognition
(photos and press releases about the students' accomplishments are published in the local newspapers, on the DICSA website & DICSA's Facebook page)
All in all, the Michigan Student Service Award is a way of honoring those high school students who go above and beyond by giving a significant portion of their high school careers to service their local community. It's never too early to start volunteering!Wear this with your graduation cap & gown!
DICSA acts as the coordinator for all of the MSSA program's activities, such as registration, assisting students in finding volunteer opportunities, and making an official permanent record of their volunteer hours. However, the guidance counselors at the schools also act as the liaison between the student and DICSA, so students may come to them with any questions as well.
If you're interested, simply do the following to get started!
1. Download & print this application.
2. Download & print this volunteer record.
3. Once the application is filled out, give to your school's guidance counselor.
4. Begin volunteering!
5. Every semester, hand in your volunteer record to your guidance counselor (TIP: be sure to make yourself a copy for your records!)
Be sure to tally all of your community service hours on the volunteer record and have the supervisor of that activity sign off on each set of hours you volunteer. If you're wondering where to volunteer, ask your guidance counselor for suggestions or browse through this list.
Any further questions can be directed to:
1238 Carpenter Ave.
Iron Mountain, MI 49801