Individual Service Hours Guidelines

From the National Junior Honor Society Handbook:

Generally, when choosing the projects, it is best to steer away from activities that directly benefit a member's family.

Service projects done for financial or other compensation are often viewed as contrary to the common definition of "service."

Verification of service by asking for an adult's signature from a supervisor is a way to guarantee that all chapter members are fulfilling their responsibilities in a fair and appropriate manner.

Chapter advisors are encouraged to set up a system where chapter members seek approval for the Individual Service Project prior to completing the project.


Guidelines for Individual Service Projects for Tolt Middle School's Local Chapter:

Always seek approval from the TMS NJHS advisor before beginning a project.  This can be done in person, or via email.

Choose projects that will help you gain experience and confidence in the five areas NJHS focuses on: scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship, and character.

Choose projects that guarantee your safety; avoid activities where a trusted adult cannot monitor your safety.

Choose projects that will help not-for-profit agencies and organizations; target projects that help the underprivileged, the elderly, the disabled, the environment, etc.  In short, those in need. 

Choose projects that you would not already be completing.  Remember that this is an opportunity to grow in confidence and leadership by sampling activities, some of which may be unfamiliar.

Balance your projects so that some are activities where the adult in charge is not always a familiar adult or family member.  The advisor often asks that some of the required hours of service be towards projects that increase one's confidence and sense of leadership.

One purpose of the Individual Service Project is to build leadership.  Take ownership over these projects so that they are truly your projects.  Give great consideration to the idea of designing some of them yourself, managing them yourself, and completing them yourself.  Rely on parents and other trusted adults only for transportation, safety, monitoring, and encouragement. 

Projects that involve another member of our local chapter are encouraged.  Sometimes two members can help each other gain confidence and leadership!

That being said, the advisor will accept a portion of your hours towards community projects that are designed by legitimate groups (ie., non-profit groups, church groups, the local food bank, etc.).  Organizations and agencies that already exist in our community are doing great work and need our help.  Negotiate with the advisor about what fraction of your hours can be used with these important groups.

Remember that Individual Service Hours can not be gained from School Service Projects, even if you volunteer beyond the required amount.  The advisor or another adult organized these events, and you would miss the opportunity to gain confidence and leadership if you were allowed to count these.

Always take along your Volunteer Hours Documentation Page to be signed by the adult in charge.  Remember that it is your responsibility to fill out the form (and not the adult's job).


Local Chapter (TMS) List of Sample Activities for Individual Service Projects:

(This is only a partial list, and you can expect it to grow over time.)

Joining "Reading With Rover" to help young readers

Collecting crayons for children's hospitals or other agencies.

Helping at Camp Korey

Helping at the Northwest Art Center in Duvall

Helping the PTSA, especially for a less-familiar elementary school.

Helping at King County Conservation events, such as tree-planting or stream restoration projects

Helping United Way of King County (

Help with Duvall Days Country Livin' Festival

Neighborhood clean-up campaigns.

Volunteering at the local food bank.

Volunteering at the Senior Center

Reading books on tape or cd for non-profit organizations (hospitals, recovery centers, etc.).

Joining a group that is already helping the homeless, or those in need.

Joining an organized event to help the environment (tree planting, salmon restoration, etc).

Volunteering at elementary schools (especially if it is with an unfamiliar teacher).

Volunteering at any of the various fund-raisers by non-profit groups in the community.

Volunteering at pet shelters or animal hospitals.

Creating care packages for the needy.

Raising awareness for health or safety concerns by organizing an educational campaign.

Tutoring struggling learners at schools or day-care facilities.

Raising money for school libraries to purchase new books.



Some Other Project Ideas (as set forth in the National Junior Honor Society Handbook):

School Service Ideas:

Organize a health fair

Run a school clean-up campaign

Hold a teacher and staff recognition day

Plan a new-student orientation

Sponsor a library drive or other programs to bring new educational equipment into the school.

Set up a peer tutoring program

Welcome and orient new staff members

Community Service Ideas:

Organize individual or group tutoring programs

Make tape recordings for the blind

Establish a hospital aid program

Collect toys and supplies for hospitalized or underprivileged children

Develop a plan for energy conservation

Promote environmental service projects

Promote ecology projects

Volunteer to be  day-care youth worker

Undertake a food drive for a local food bank or shelter

Support a homeless shelter by providing clothing or serving meals