In order to qualify for a Bright Futures Scholarship, as well as many other scholarship and grant opportunities, you must participate in community service.
Before you start working on earning hours, make sure you read and understand the Community Service Guidelines.
Please see the Volunteer Service Coordinator in Student Services for pre-approval of your hours. You can come in before or after school or during lunch.
Please familiarize yourself with the paperwork:
Community Service Verification Form
If you belong to a service club (such as Key Club or Interact) your sponsor or club president will get approval in advance. Please make sure you know their procedures for processing paperwork.
Please remember to check Schoology for updates on volunteer opportunities. There are thousands of ways to make an impact in our community. If you're not sure whether your activity counts, see your counselor in Student Services during lunch or before or after school.
Remember, if you want it to count toward the Bright Futures scholarship, you have to fill out a pre-approval form BEFORE providing the service.
Service for non-profit agencies:
- Red Cross
- Salvation Army
Service work with places of worship (churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.):
- Mission trips
- VBS (logistics, not teaching)
- Church sponsored projects that directly address a community need or social issue
High school service club projects
- Organization of events that directly address a community need or social issue
Volunteer service for charitable fundraising events:
- Tour de Cure
- Relay for Life
- A business or governmental internship
- Activities on behalf of a candidate for public office
- Animal shelters
- Nursing homes/hospitals
- Participation in events that benefit members of the community
Please note: This not an all-inclusive list.
Activities for the sole benefit of a religious house of worship and its congregation:
- Praise team
- Religious teaching
- Community outreach (recruiting membership)
- Canned foods
- Locks of Love
- Blood donations
Extra-curricular activity (school related and non-school related) requirements:
- Performances (plays, concerts, recitals, games, etc.)
- Attendance at self-improvement workshops, training, conferences, competitions or travel.
- Court ordered community service
- Family related activities or service to family members (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.), including step relations
- Fostering animals in the home
- Job shadowing
- Work that is compensated either financially or with some other material gain, including grades
Please note: This not an all-inclusive list.
Community Service FAQ
Why do I need community service hours?
If you plan on attending college in the state of Florida and you are interested in receiving a scholarship, then you probably want to earn the Bright Futures award. Eligible students receive funds that go toward paying tuition, anywhere from 75 to 100 percent. All you have to do is perform community service, and maintain the required grade point average, and earn qualifying test scores.
What do I do?
To begin, you must identify a social problem and develop a plan for personal involvement in addressing that problem. Choose from one of these categories:
- Provide leadership, guidance, and activities for the youth of the community
- Promote animal welfare in the community
- Improve the literacy of the community
- Improve and enrich the lives of the homeless and/or those living in poverty
- Promote the arts in the community
- Preserve the environment and protect local historical sites
- Promote the health, welfare, and safety of the community
- Improve and enrich the lives of the mentally and/or physically disabled in the community
- Promote the quality of life for the senior citizens of our community
After you have an idea, you need to see Mrs. Durshimer for preapproval of your project. Prior to your appointment, you must fill out the verification form COMPLETELY, including getting signatures from your parent and the person who will be supervising your project. After you receive approval, you will begin completing your hours and keeping track of them on the time log/evaluation form. When you are done, you will need to get the same signatures and write an evaluation of what you learned. Then you will turn it in to Mrs. Durshimer for processing.
All paperwork, including hours, must be turned in at the end of every quarter, even if it is a continuing project.
IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THIS PROCESS, YOU MAY NOT GET CREDIT FOR YOUR SERVICE.
How do I know what counts for community service?
Activities done with non-profit agencies, high school service clubs, and government agencies most likely will count. Activities that do not count toward community service include court ordered community service, donations, paid work, activities that benefit a religious house of worship, school related extracurricular activities, fostering animals, babysitting, and job shadowing. Make sure you know the difference between what counts and what does not count.
Here are some suggestions for local agencies that may allow you to work with them: Southeastern Guide Dogs, Manatee County Animal Services, Palmetto Historical Park/Ag Museum, Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, Nate’s Honor Rescue, Prospect Riding Center, SMART (Sarasota/Manatee Association for Riding Therapy), DeSoto National Memorial, Florida Railroad Museum, public libraries, Keep Manatee Beautiful, Teen Court, retirement homes, hospitals, Tidewell Hospice, and the Manatee Youth Commission. It is up to you to reach out to them to make sure you can earn hours before you get approval for your project. This is not an all-inclusive list, but it will help you get started.
How many hours do I need for a Bright Futures Scholarship and how much money will I receive?
It all depends on what scholarship level you are seeking. For more information, please visit www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org.
When do I apply for Bright Futures?
Seniors apply between October 1 and graduation day.
How do I check my number of hours?
The easiest way to check your community service hours is through FOCUS. Login to MySDMC SSO with your student credentials and click the FOCUS tile. Then, choose the "My Child" tab and select "Child Info".
On the left, choose "Graduation" to view your hours.