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HS Community Service Best Practices

High School Community Service

Union Academy is dedicated to strong community relationships and awareness, both locally and globally. We want everyone associated with our school to feel a sense of community. We believe that our students will be much better prepared for life and become better contributing citizens by participating in community service and learning at every grade level.


  • Students are required to complete a written yearly reflection before receiving credit for their hours for the year.
    • Because recognition is given to individuals who reach two times the required service hours and also to the student who completes the most volunteer service, it is unfair to give double hours.
    • If you are offered double hours, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator.  This practice has been discontinued and requests will not be honored.
    • Hours can’t be put into Mobileserve in one lump sum.  Please list actual dates and  times.
    • Hours from previous years may not be entered in at a later date. They must be entered in and approved in the current school year.


  • Set up a Mobileserve account
    • You can find a tutorial on the UA website under the “Volunteering the UA Way” tab of the “Students & Parents” heading.
    • Make sure you join your class organization by entering the class code.  You can find this on the main UA website.
  • Enter your hours
    • You can begin recording hours for the next school year beginning the day after graduation.
  • Be Timely
    • Enter your hours as soon as possible.  This allows time for supervisors to certify your volunteer work.
  • Be Trustworthy
    • You are responsible for reporting only the hours that you actually spend volunteering.
    • No travel time should ever be recorded.  We only count actual work time.
  • Be specific and detailed in your “Story” of your volunteer work
    • Although you don’t have to write a paragraph, include specific tasks (in bullet form if you like) and specific dates.
    • Do not enter in hours in one large lump sum.  Please use dates and times.  Again, be specific.
  • Name a supervisor
    • You must ALWAYS name a supervisor and their email on your Mobileserve entries.
      • A parent may NOT be the supervisor for his/her own child. If your parent is the supervisor of a volunteer organization, please use an alternative adult (superior or assistant) as your supervisor.
      • A supervisor is someone who is present at the worksite
  • Include the supervisor’s e-mail
    • Volunteer entries without an email address will not be certified
      • An email is sent out to the supervisor. When the supervisor returns the email with a signature, the volunteer work is certified and counted toward your total.
  • Review your hours
    • From time to time check in on your hours. Approved hours will be indicated with a green ✅
    • Follow up on unapproved hours in a timely manner. Unapproved hours have a red X and an explanation for the rejection so that you are able to fix it if possible.
  • Complete your Reflection Form
    • You must reflect on your experience for the 10 hours served with community-based organizations and your overall volunteer experience.
      • Only one reflection form is required even if you served at more than one organization.
      • If the reflection form is NOT completed, your hours will NOT be counted.

General Guidelines

  • Have a willingness to work
    • Showing up is imperative. Be engaged and active during your volunteer time. People are relying on you for your commitment.
  • No phone use while volunteering
    • Be engaged and attentive to the job at hand.
  • Have a positive attitude
    • Remember, we are a school of character--be a good representative.
  • Don’t Forget your CARROT PI(E)
  • Everytime you volunteer, you represent Union Academy. You can be the one who makes an impact on someone’s day--make it a positive one!

Community-based hours 

  • You can earn your community-based hours at non-profits NOT associated with Union Academy.

Volunteering at a place of worship

  • Participation in a religious service does not count as volunteer hours; however, providing a service within the organization that is not a part of the services may be considered.
    • Babysitting/nursery at the facility so that others may attend the service may be counted as volunteer hours.
    • Teaching classes will be counted as volunteer hours
    • Collecting offerings or singing in a service would not be counted.
    • Community service organized by a place of worship for another organization should be recorded as service to the other organization-
      • Ex. Your Church Youth Group goes to help at Operation Christmas Child. Record this as volunteering for Operation Christmas Child.  
    • When in doubt, get clarification from the Volunteer Coordinator.

Babysitting or pet-sitting

  • Babysitting does not count as volunteering except under the following conditions:
    • Babysitting counts when it is done without pay for an organization such as a church nursery, or Turning Point.
    • Pet Sitting and fostering animals will not count as volunteer time. 
    • Dog walking is not counted unless doing it for an organization such as a rescue center
    • Working at a shelter is allowed…SPCA, Rapture Center, Carolina Waterfowl

Volunteering with UAA or the UA Foundation

  • Although both are non-profit organizations, they are not considered part of the community-based service because they are part of Union Academy. One of the goals of the community service requirement is to make a difference in the larger community beyond our school.  We reserve these slots for parents as they need 60 volunteer hours each year at the school.

Mission trips or other overnight volunteer service

  • Mission trips/overnight volunteering will be counted at a maximum of 8 hours per day if truly physically working 8 hours. You may not log time for sightseeing, worship services, meals etc. 
    • Unlike parent volunteering, travel and sleeping time are not counted for mission trips.


  • Gathering up your clothes to take to Goodwill or other organizations will not be counted
  • If you would like to do a food/clothing/toy drive etc. please contact the volunteer coordinator (Amanda Watkins) with a business plan on how you will accomplish this activity
  • Students can not donate items to the UA hospitality events, classroom needs, taco tuesday etc.  Those are for our parents.

Helping Teachers

  • We encourage you to get out into the community but if you are going to assist a teacher once in a while, it should be tutoring students, reading with students, helping with homework, arts and crafts etc.
  • Be specific in the “tell your story” part of Mobileserve.  General wording of “I was in a teacher’s classroom” will not be approved.

Volunteering for Family

  • Volunteering for family does not count as we want you in the community doing for others.  You should be helping your family because it’s the right thing to do.

Volunteering at a Business

  • Learning a trade, shadowing, internship, etc will not be considered for community service hours.
  • If the business is hosting an event, for example, a 5K, a toy drive, a BBQ, a carwash, helping at the dentist office to give free exams for veterans day, helping a cleaning company who cleans houses once a month for the shut ins, this will count.