Palo Alto Unified students' resource for meaningful community service, service-learning, and community engagement.
The Three Levels of Community Service
1. Living Skills Hours:
2. Transcript Award:
3. Presidential Volunteer Service Award:
Community Service Do's & Don'ts:
Eligible for transcript recognition:
Note: Students and parents CANNOT sign forms. Forms must be signed by administrators or mentors within the organization you are volunteering for.
Students building a house in Nicaragua. Photo credit Michael C.
16 of 41 Developmental Assets connected to community service
#7 Community Values Youth
#8 Youth as Resources
#9 Service to Others
#14 Adult Role Models
#17 Creative Activities
#18 Youth Programs
#21 Achievement Motivation
#27 Equality & Social Justice
#32 Planning & Decision Making
#33 Interpersonal Competence
#34 Cultural Competence
#37 Personal Power
#39 Sense of Purpose
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is community service required at Gunn or Paly?
Service hours are only required as part of the Living Skills curriculum, and are not a graduation requirement. Roughly one-third of seniors receive optional transcript recognition.
How do I find meaningful service opportunities connected to my interest, talents, aptitudes, and/or passions?
Pay attention to what other students are doing, you will be inspired! The organizations featured on this website are all places where our students have volunteered. The reflections in the Get Involved guidebook are excellent examples of PAUSD students giving back with a sense of purpose.
What if I don't have any interests, talents, aptitudes, and/or passions?
Get Involved! Try several different organizations and interest categories. When you find one you like, stick with it and try to find ways to go deeper into the causes they promote. The 11 service categories are: The Arts, Science & Technology, Education, Seniors & Disabled, Food & Shelter, Humanitarianism, Animals & Environment, Health & Safety, Civic Engagement, Homes & Construction. Choose one or two that interest you and get started by checking the calendar, directory, and reflections here at Get Involved Palo Alto.
I heard a student got into XYZ University because of he had xyz (#) hours of service on the high school transcript. Will it increase my chances of getting into a certain college or university if I have a lot of hours?
Not necessarily. If you are pursuing a genuine interest to which you are committed, and you demonstrate creativity, problem solving/critical thinking, leadership and other such character traits this will give you depth as a well-rounded student. It may also give you more personal experiences to write about in your college essays.
What are some benefits of community service for high school students?
PAUSD high schoolers are highly involved in the local, national, and international communities. When students choose to pursue their interests, talents, aptitudes, and/or passions through community involvement, their service hours can 1.) help to make important personal connections that lead to purposeful post-high school planning, 2.) develop leadership capacities, 3.) build resilience and increase the 41 Developmental Assets for positive growth.