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Volunteer Recognition Opportunities

HandsOn San Diego does not host any of the below recognition opportunities but can serve to certify service hours completed by volunteers applying for these opportunities. 

President's Volunteer Service Award

The President's Volunteer Service Award is the premier volunteer awards program, encouraging United States citizens or lawfully admitted permanent residents of the United States through presidential recognition to live a life of service.


  • United States citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States (i.e., green card holder)
  • Must be at least five years old
  • Completes eligible service within a 12-month period (for annual Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards) and over a lifetime (for Lifetime Achievement Awards)

Eligible Service:

  • Unpaid acts of volunteer service benefiting others
    • Service through National service programs that provide a stipend (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) may count towards the Lifetime Achievement Award, but not for the annual Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards)
    • Travel stipends, transit/parking passes, membership passes, expense reimbursements, and other nominal volunteer support do not impact service eligibility

Eligible Service does not include:

  • Donating funds
  • Political lobbying (Non-partisan voter registration is an eligible activity)
  • Religious instruction
  • Conducting worship service
  • Proselytizing
  • Volunteer service performed as part of court-ordered community service
  • Serving only family members

The following are the eligibility requirements for each age group:

Hours by Award





Kids (5-10)

26-49 hours

50-74 hours

75+ hours

4,000 hours

Teens (11-15)

50-74 hours

75-99 hours

100+ hours

4,000 hours

Young Adults (16-25)

100-174 hours

175-249 hours

250+ hours

4,000 hours

Adults (26 and older)

100-249 hours

250-499 hours

500+ hours

4,000 hours

Family & Groups

200-499 hours

500-999 hours

1,000+ hours


Age category is determined by the age a volunteer is for at least 7 months out of a designated 12-month award period.

Award Packages

The complete package includes a certificate, pin, and a congratulatory letter from the President. Due to budget restraints, we are not able to accommodate requests for Coins or Medallions. 

Verifying Hours

Hours obtained through a HandsOn San Diego managed project are verified by the HandsOn San Diego Volunteer Leader.

For hours completed outside of the HandsOn San Diego calendar, hours need to be signed-off by a representative of the benefiting organization. With proof, HandsOn San Diego can include these hours in your PSVA application. Because the cost of the award comes out of our budget, we are only able to certify hours for San Diego County residents or hours served in San Diego County.

Applying for the Award

We submit volunteers' information for the President's Volunteer Service Award 4 times per year with deadlines on the following dates each year: March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31. For a volunteer to be included, they must have reached out to us at, provided any necessary documentation of their hours, and accurately self-reported their hours by that date. The awards will be shipped to our office in Kearny Mesa and pick up times will be provided after they've arrived (typically 2-3 weeks after the awards are ordered). 

For more information or to apply for the President's Volunteer Service Award, please email

Daily Point of Light Award

Millions of people act on their power to do good every day, using their hearts, hands and minds to help strengthen communities and solve persistent problems. Points of Light recognizes their individual stories through the Daily Point of Light Award, and lifts them up to inspire others so we may each, in our own way, answer the call to make a difference.


  • Residency: Award nominees must be legal U.S. residents.

  • Service: All volunteer activities must be unpaid and cannot include court-ordered community service. Nominees who receive a nominal stipend for their service or receive paid time off to volunteer are eligible.

  • Timeline: Volunteer service must last for six uninterrupted months and still be ongoing (except disaster relief work).

  • Impact: Work should demonstrate real impact from the activity. Examples include number of people served, money raised, etc.

  • Community need: Activity must meet a community need or concern. Nominee must have sustainability plans for their activity (ex. working with community organizations to continue their work, empowering service recipients to continue their work, etc.).

The Prudential Spirit of Community Award

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is the United States’ largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.

Created in 1995 by Prudential and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the program honors middle level and high school students for outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level.

Thus far, it has recognized more than 140,000 young people who’ve made a difference – and inspired countless others to consider how they might contribute to their communities

The Spirit of Community Awards program also honors youth volunteers in countries outside the U.S. where Prudential has a significant presence: Japan, Taiwan, Ireland, India, China and Brazil.


To be eligible, you must:

  • be in grades 5-12 as of November 10th of the award year
  • be a legal resident of any U.S. state or Washington, D.C.
  • have engaged in a volunteer activity that occurred during the 12 months prior to the date of the application
  • submit a completed application to a school or the head of an official designated local organization by November 10 of the award year


Local Honorees receive a Certificate of Achievement from their schools or organization. Those Local Honorees who qualify (26 hours of service for ages 10 and younger, 50 hours for ages 11-15, and 100 hours for older students) also receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Distinguished Finalists receive an engraved bronze medallion, and other state-level runners-up receive Certificates of Excellence.

State Honorees receive a $1,000 scholarship, an engraved silver medallion, and an invitation to the program's national recognition events. In the event that circumstances surrounding COVID-19 necessitate canceling the in-person event, a virtual event will be held and no trip to Washington, D.C. would be awarded.

National Honorees receive an additional $5,000 scholarship, an engraved gold medallion, a trophy for their schools or nominating organizations, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a nonprofit charitable organization of their choice.

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