Michigan Student Service Award

Essay Requirements | Hours Log | Recipients

Sponsored by the Volunteer Centers of Michigan, the Michigan Student Service Award (MSSA) is a premier statewide program that recognizes high school graduates who volunteer and document 400 hours of non-paid community service that meet a recognized community need, under the auspices of a nonprofit organization, government program, community group or school. Each student that fulfills the program requirements during the course of their high school career receives: a Michigan Student Service Award Medallion of Distinction, a Certificate of Distinction for commitment to service from Volunteer Kalamazoo and Volunteer Centers of Michigan that is signed by the Governor, and inclusion in community-wide recognition efforts in the media and on Volunteer Kalamazoo’s website.

Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE MICHIGAN STUDENT SERVICE AWARD PROGRAM?
The Michigan Student Service Award (MSSA) Program is a way of recognizing high school graduates who volunteer a significant number of hours to benefit their community through service and volunteerism during the course of their high school careers.

Similar to other awards bestowed on graduating seniors of talent, commitment and perseverance in academics and athletics, the Student Service Award honors those special students who participate in activities outside of school that make their community a better place to live. The medallion rewards their commitment to helping other people and organizations in a significant way.

WHO SPONSORS THE PROGRAM?
This program was launched by the Volunteer Centers of Michigan and is sponsored by the area’s local Volunteer Center in partnership with high school counselors and students throughout the state. Volunteer Kalamazoo is the coordinator and contact point for all program activities, and will register students, assist them in finding volunteer opportunities, and make an official permanent record of their hours.

HOW DOES THE AWARD PROGRAM WORK?
Over the course of their four years in high school, students must complete and document at least 400 hours of non-paid community service. These activities must meet a recognized community need, and be undertaken through nonprofit organizations, government programs, community groups, or schools.

WHAT KINDS OF SERVICE COUNT TOWARD THE AWARD?

The following types of activities (as well as many others) would qualify, and would be certified by Volunteer Kalamazoo:

  • Direct Service, such as river clean up, tutoring, spending time with a nursing home resident
  • Indirect Service, such as computer data entry, fundraising, food collection, board or committee work for a nonprofit
  • Civic Engagement, advocacy or community organizing, such as beautification, mural painting, community surveys
  • 70% of service hours must take place in the student’s county of residence or local community
  • Activities for school or church that serve more than just students at the school or the congregation of
    the church

WHAT DOES NOT COUNT TOWARD THE AWARD?

  • Church-related activities that only involve your congregation (examples: Bible school, childcare at church, pancake breakfasts)
  • School activities that only involve those connected to school (examples: cheer leading, student council, classroom/office aide, coaching assistant, decorating for prom, homecoming floats, concessions at sporting events)
  • Volunteer work done for school credit
  • Fundraisers to raise money for school programs
  • Campaign work for political candidates

Please consult Volunteer Kalamazoo to verify if service hours count toward the award, by contacting us via email or 269.382.8350 x 205.

WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?

1. Still need hours? Volunteer! Search for volunteer opportunities and apply to volunteer online.

2. Record your hours on our Volunteer Activity Log and submit them to Volunteer Kalamazoo throughout your high school career or when you are ready to apply for the award during the Winter/Spring of your Senior year. You must obtain signatures on this volunteer activity log sheet from the agency staff who supervised each of the activities. This documentation must be submitted to Volunteer Kalamazoo, which will maintain a permanent record of service hours. Please note: not all volunteer hours count toward the award. Please contact us to check the eligibility of hours.

3. Let us know of your intent to apply for the award by emailing volunteens@volunteerkalamazoo.org or calling 269.382.8350 x 205, so that we can keep you updated of any changes and deadlines.

4. Submit the Michigan Student Service Award Essay before the required deadline, March 14,  2014.

RECOGNITION FOR YOUR ACHIEVEMENT

Recognition will take place at the annual honors award program before graduation, when the student will receive:

  • A Medallion of Distinction to wear with the graduation cap and gown
  • A Certificate of Distinction for Commitment to Service signed by the Governor
  • Community-wide recognition from Volunteer Kalamazoo

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
Students at high schools within the service area of Volunteer Kalamazoo. If you would like to participate in the program, please contact us at volunteens@volunteerkalamazoo.org, 269.382.8350 x 205.

Michigan Student Service Award Recipients

2013 RECIPIENTS

Meika Ashby, Hackett Catholic Central

Anna He, Portage Northern/KAMSC

Gnyapti Majmudar, Comstock High School

Paul Smith, Hackett Catholic Central

Connor Wetzel-Brown, Comstock High School

Jarrod Wetzel-Brown, Comstock High School

2012 RECIPIENTS

Austin Atkinson, Portage Northern

Austin Elluru, Hackett Catholic Central

Nick Emig, Hackett Catholic Central

Carmela Harris, Kalamazoo Christian

Suzanne Kudwa, Hackett Catholic Central

Elizabeth Lenning, Schoolcraft/KAMSC

Jasneet Kaur Palaha, Portage Northern

Arju Patel, Portage Northern

Suneed Shaikh, Portage Northern

Yash Sharma, Portage Northern

Anita Western, Hackett Catholic Central

2011 RECIPIENTS

Elena Brennan, Hackett Catholic Central

Riley Emig, Hackett Catholic Central

Jermaine Harris, Portage Central High School

Alex Hess, Hackett Catholic Central

Faiz Khaja, Loy Norrix/Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center

Megan Leander, Hackett Catholic Central

Fatima Mirza, Portage Central High School/Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center

Sarah Surna, Portage Central High School

Matthew Tanksley, Hackett Catholic Central

2010 RECIPIENTS

Andrew Elluru, Hackett Catholic Central

Ashley Hamilton, Hackett Catholic Central

Jessica Kirklin, Hackett Catholic Central

Nicholas Rocha, Hackett Catholic Central

Tamsen Glaser, Hackett Catholic Central

Taryn Green, Portage Central High School/Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center

VolunTEENS MSSAVolunTEENS MSSAVolunTEENS- MSSA