As counselors and service organizations leaders, you likely encounter volunteers that go above and beyond regularly. Service awards can be a great way to showcase talented individuals that give back to their community and help others to get involved as well. Here we’ve listed some of the top service awards available for volunteers.
The President’s Volunteer Service Award
The President’s Volunteer Service Award recognizes United States citizens and permanent residents who have achieved the required number of hours of service over a 12-month time period or cumulative hours over the course of a lifetime. The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor, is granted to those who contribute over 4,000 hours of service in their lifetime.
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ award for young Americans. The program is non-partisan, voluntary, and non-competitive. Young people may register when they turn 13 1/2 years old and must complete their activities by their 24th birthday. To earn the award, young people set goals in all four program areas including voluntary public service.
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people from diverse backgrounds all across North America. Established in 2001 by author T.A. Barron, the Barron Prize annually honors 25 outstanding young leaders ages 8 to 18 who have made a significant positive impact on people, their communities and the environment.
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service, and honors middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level. The Spirit of Community Awards program also honors youth volunteers in countries outside the U.S. where Prudential has a significant presence: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, China and Brazil.
Women of Worth
Women of Worth was created to honor those who go above and beyond, selflessly volunteering their time to empower others. Each year, 10 extraordinary women are chosen from thousands of nominations and honored for the impact they’ve made across a variety of charitable causes.
Daily Point of Light Award
In 1998, Points of Light Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service reinstated the Daily Point of Light Award with a mission to recognize individuals and families who give their time, talent, voice and resources to make a difference in their communities. Since then, Points of Light has inspired and recognized thousands for their voluntary service and celebrated the impact volunteers have on communities around the world.
Everyday Young Hero Award
Everyday Young Heroes are young people, ages 5-25, who are improving their communities through service to others and making significant progress in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each week, the YSA Team selects one young person to receive this honor. Applicants can provide a direct service, be philanthropic, or raise awareness or advocacy around a particular community need.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program rewards students for their leadership, commitment to community, and academic achievements. Each year, the program awards 150 college scholarships worth $20,000 to high school seniors across the United States.
The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program
Honoring President Ronald Reagan's legacy, the GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program provides $10,000 renewable scholarships to high school seniors who demonstrate leadership, integrity, drive, and citizenship.
Horatio Alger Association Scholarships
The Horatio Alger Association Scholarships are prestigious awards for high school students who have faced and overcome great obstacles in their young lives. These scholarships are aimed at supporting students who display integrity and perseverance in the face of adversity, have a strong commitment to completing a bachelor's degree, and show a desire to contribute to society.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2019 and has been updated with new award information.