President’s Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA)
Compass is an approved Certifying Organization (CO) for the President’s Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA). The PVSA is a prestigious national honor offered in recognition of volunteer commitment. Established in 2003, this award honors individuals and groups who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to volunteer service over the course of 12 months. Service hours can be accumulated on a variety of projects throughout the year.
The PVSA is awarded annually at the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels. For many, earning one or more awards will be a noteworthy honor on future college or scholarship applications.
- Getting StartedRegister
Volunteers must register with PVSA in order to create an online account to track hours. Children under age 13 must provide a parent’s e-mail and obtain parental permission. Once a parent has received a link and approved the child’s account, tabs will appear to enter the certifying organization (CO) and to begin entering hours.
Link to Compass
Volunteers must designate Compass as their certifying organization (CO) in their online account. Volunteers should enter the Record of Service (ROS) Key YJG-9797 in order to link their volunteer hours to Compass for certification.
Recognized volunteers must be US citizens or lawfully admitted permanent residents of the US.
Volunteers using Compass as their CO must be current Compass students. Current students are those who have taken at least one class in the current calendar year. Compass is unable to certify for the at-large homeschool community.
- Tracking Volunteer HoursOnline Tracking
Volunteer hours worked must be entered in the online tracking system by the volunteer in discrete entries noting the date worked, hours worked, activity description, and beneficiary organization.
As an example, instead of entering “12 hours- Boy Scouts”, our reviewers must be able to see specifics like:
– 5 hours- Park clean-up on March 3
– 4 hours- Food bank collection on April 4
– 3 hours- Building habitats for the animal shelter on May 5
- Compass Program RequirementsAward Year
The Compass award year shall run from September 1 through August 31 each year. All volunteer hours must be entered by 11:59 pm on August 31. Hours entered after than time cannot be counted for the closing year, nor can they be carried forward to the next year.
Review/Acceptance of Hours
Compass will review all service hour entries and maintains the right to contact beneficiary organizations to verify volunteer work completed. Compass may reject any entries that are incorrectly documented, unsubstantiated, or that are of an excluded type of participation.
A small awards ceremony will be held on a Wednesday afternoon in early October each year for the recipients of the prior year’s medals. Attendance at the award ceremony shall be a condition of receiving your award package. Check the date and plan for it in your schedule if you have applied for an award.
Cost of Awards
Compass orders and pays for all official awards. Compass will furnish the medallion package (customized parchment certificate and medal on neck ribbon) for all students ages 18 and under and will furnish the pin package (customized parchment certificate and lapel pin) for all volunteers ages 19 and older.
- What Counts as Volunteer Service?Type of Community Service
Volunteers may perform any type of community service that they wish. Major service catergories suggested by PVSA include: education, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, veterans and military families, economic opportunity, disaster services, and more.
Double Dipping/Double Counting Service Hours
Community service hours counted towards the PVSA do not need to be uniquely earned for this award. Hours completed through, or required by, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Eta Sigma Alpha, church, or similar civic or community initiatives, may be applied towards a PVSA award, even if they are performed towards earning another award or recognition.
Community service work does not need to be done through an organization or established program. Self-initiated service work such as an individual’s or family’s commitment to cleaning up a park or stream, can be counted for this award. Compass may ask for additional details or documentation on self-initiated projects.
- What Does Not Count as Volunteer Service?Court-Ordered Service
Volunteer service mandated by the court cannot be counted.
Volunteer hours must be completed in the 12 month award period. Unused hours may not be “rolled over” to the next award period. The exception is the Lifetime Achievement Award which is cumulative across multiple years.
Volunteers must not receive any compensation or stipend for the community service hours.
Monetary or in-kind donations to an organization do not have a volunteer hour equivalency and cannot be counted.
Unpaid Student Work
Not all unpaid student work can be counted as volunteer, community service work. Unpaid work in a for-profit place of business, such as an office, is considered an internship experience and shall not count as volunteer work because the student’s effort would benefit a business rather than a charitable effort.
Marches, Rallies, Protests
Participation in marches, rallies, or protests shall not count as volunteer hours.
Attendance/Participation in an Organization
A student’s attendance at regular meetings or participation in field trips, such as a Girl Scout meeting or Boy Scout field trip, do not count as volunteer hours. However, service projects or charitable work done through one of these organizations, such as a youth group visit to a nursing home, can be counted.
Hours spent on fundraising activities for a member’s own organization cannot be counted as service. For example, time spent earning money through the sale of Boy Scout popcorn, Girl scout cookies, honor society pizza day, etc., cannot be counted as community service. However, efforts expended to raise money for another charitable organization, such as a carwash or lemonade stand to raise funds for the animal shelter or cancer society, could be counted.
For more information or questions on the PVSA, contact Compass.