• Reviewing the following guidelines will help students understand the requirements of earning their Silver Cord.

    • The official Silver Cord calendar year runs from June 1 to May 31, with the exception of senior year, which ends on May 1.
    • Each student needs to volunteer a minimum of 50 hours per year.
    • Each student must volunteer at three different non-profit organizations per year. Examples include but are not limited to: schools, local or state government, church, and community events.
    • Volunteering at home—for family, extended family, or neighbors, with the permission of a parent—qualifies as one of the three required organizations. Students may volunteer at home for no more than 10 hours each year.
    • Hours are credited by 15 minute intervals, with a limit of eight hours per day. Submitted hours may not include time for travel, breaks, meals, recreation, or sleeping.
    • Submitting hours:
      • Students have 30 days from the last date of service to submit hours.
      • Submit hours for ongoing service opportunities monthly, within 30 days of the last date of service that month. Please report these hours in the “description of service” field on the online submission form; see page 11 in the Silver Cord Student Manual for details.
      • Hours submitted after 30 days are awarded at half credit.
      • No credit will be given for hours that are submitted six months or more after the last day of service.
    • It is each student’s responsibility to check their online account to view their status and messages from the Silver Cord coordinator. Messages will appear as blue links, double underlined, on the student’s dashboard.
    • Students must document all service hours via the Silver Cord online system.
    • Seniors must submit all requests for credit no later than May 1. Failure to do so will result in not receiving the Silver Cord award at Senior Honors Night.
    • All of the service opportunities posted on the Silver Cord webpage have already been approved and will be listed (along with all prior preapproved activities) in the drop-down menu for the student to choose from when submitting their hours for credit online.
    • If a service opportunity is NOT on the list, the activity must be preapproved before a request for credit can be submitted. This can be done by filling out a preapproval request through the student’s online account.


    Still have questions about the Silver Cord Volunteer program? 
    Take a few minutes to read the Silver Cord Student Manual.

    Acceptable and Unacceptable Hours

    Acceptable Hours

    • Acceptable hours must provide a service or meet a clear need for a non-profit agency, church, school, park, senior living community, charity program, day care center, or community event.
    • Up to 10 hours each year may be earned volunteering for family at home.
    • Accepted religious activities include, but are not limited to: participating with Sunday/Wednesday school, Vacation Bible School, confirmation class, baby-sitting during religious services, working on a sound crew, taking video of a service, or mission trips.


    Unacceptable Hours

    • Unacceptable hours include:
      • Valley High School and Valley Southwoods Freshman High School
        sport team managing or training
      • Service work for a group as part of your membership obligation
      • Hours earned to satisfy a class requirement
      • Rehearsing
      • Working from home for an organization.
      • Walking/running/dancing/sleeping in a marathon or fundraiser (Valley High School Dance Marathon is exempt from this rule and may be counted)
      • Hours used for confirmation or other church membership requirements
      • Boy Scout Advancement
      • Participating in a march, rally, or walkout
    • Silver Cord hours may not be directly involved with rituals, services, or ceremonies of any specific religion. Examples of invalid activities include, but are not limited to: playing an instrument for services, singing in the choir, candle lighting, reading from religious texts, altar service, ushering, or passing out programs.
    • Silver Cord hours cannot be earned while working for a for-profit business, country club, or while working for pay or compensation of any kind.
    • Outside of at-home service hours, Silver Cord supervisors should not be immediate family members.
  • Contact Us

    Cyndi Bonus
    Silver Cord Coordinator

    Megan Thompson
    Administrative Assistant

    Silver Cord Office

    Valley High School
    3650 Woodland Avenue
    West Des Moines, IA 50266

Last Modified on April 18, 2023