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Silver Cord Program at Nodaway Valley


The mission of the Nodaway Valley Silver Cord Program is to establish the importance of community service and develop leadership skills through these opportunities.  The program encourages volunteer opportunities with all Civic Organizations and will benefit all communities in the Nodaway Valley School district.


The purpose of the Silver Cord Program is to encourage volunteerism and allow students to experience the joy of giving back to the community. Volunteering can provide a constructive use of time, foster the exploration of career interests, support youth seeking employment and college admission, and give new graduates the confidence to serve in leadership roles after high school.


The benefit of the Silver Cord Program is to offer a graduation incentive through personal development for our students. Nodaway Valley seniors who volunteer a minimum of 100 hours throughout their high school career will graduate with a silver cord honor.  It also creates opportunities to receive scholarships, network with individuals in the community who can write recommendation letters and who could be future employers for students in our district.

Students volunteering 100 hours by April 30 of their senior year will have the distinct honor of wearing a silver cord during their graduation ceremony. This is a self-directed program. The student is responsible for submitting all of their hours.


While it is suggested that students complete 25 hours of service activities per year to reach the 100 total hours, students may accumulate their 100 hours in varying amounts during their four years of high school.


The Silver Cord Program
will be phased-in according to the following schedule:

Class of 2019 -  25 hours minimum

Class of 2020 -  50 hours minimum

Class of 2021 –  75 hours minimum

Class of 2022 and beyond -  100 hours minimum

Any student new to the district will be pro-rated according to the year they transfer or move into the Nodaway Valley School District. Silver Cord hours can also be transferred from another district into our program with written verification of hours provided by the school and signed by the program coordinator or school administration.

Important Guidelines:

1) The Student-Parent Agreement form must be completed prior to beginning any activity.  The form can be filled out once indicating the student’s desire to participate in the program.  Next, complete the Sign Up form.

2) No more than 50% of the total volunteer hours should come from any one organization/activity.  

   a) Student organization hours for service projects can be used toward the Silver Cord program if the teacher in charge approves.​

   b) Meetings do not count.

3) All volunteer hours must accumulate from at least three activities and all volunteer hours must be unpaid.

4) The students must document ALL hours and have an organization representative above the age of 21, verify such hours. 

   a) Parents cannot sign documentation form unless approved in advance.

   b) Documentation forms are due within three months of completion of the activity.

5) The student should not volunteer more than eight (8) hours in a day.

6) Volunteer hours cannot be completed during the school day.

Strict adherence to eligible and in-eligible activities as listed below.

How the Program Works:

The Silver Cord Program starts June 1st between 8th grade and freshman year and concludes April 30 of the senior year.  


Remember that Silver Cord hours must meet a clearly defined need for an agency, charity program, church, political agency, social service, group, or community event.  If there is an activity in question, you should have it pre-approved by the Silver Cord Committee.


The more hours you volunteer, the closer you are to having the distinct honor of wearing a silver cord at graduation.  However, the most important thing is giving something back to the community.  Your service matters!

Examples of Eligible Activities (these activities must be unpaid):

  • Mentoring/Tutoring

  • Reading to youth

  • Field/Grounds clean-up

  • Playground clean-up

  • Community beautification or clean-up project

  • Community Events

  • Serving as an unpaid counselor at a camp

  • Coaching younger students in a sport or activity
              e.g. (summer and winter boys basketball camps can total 12.5 hours per year)

  • Fundraising events for non-profit organizations

  • Fitness Center

  • Referee youth sports

  • Helping at an animal shelter

  • Political party/campaign work

  • Helping at a childcare facility or providing childcare for an organization/event

  • Helping at the library story hour, summer reading program

  • Church service activities

    • Mission trips - only for service hours worked

    • Teaching Sunday School

    • Teaching/Helping at Vacation Bible School

  • Assisting at hospitals, nursing homes, adult day care

  • Camp counselor

  • Helping with 4-H camps

  • Scouting service activities (not to exceed a maximum of 10 hours)

  • Assisting/Helping with Special Olympics

  • Volunteering for school sponsored activities (i.e. music events, concession stand (after meeting initial 10-event commitment))

  • Other activities as approved

This is only an example list to give you ideas.  If you are in question if the volunteer activity is acceptable or non-acceptable, check with Volunteer Coordinator, Stacie Hull, prior to starting the activity.

Examples of Ineligible Activities:

  • Travel time to and from volunteer activity

  • Court/school ordered activity

  • Anything that is paid

  • Practices for extracurricular activity

  • Fundraising for yourself/school/school organization

  • Doing "extra credit" or "special chores" for teacher at school

  • Attending church, confirmation, or Sunday School

  • Extracurricular activities

  • Working at a family business/farm or anywhere you are getting paid

  • Babysitting

  • If you are part of a team or organization i.e. Club Hours when sitting in a club or organization meetings for out-of-school activities. Ex: showing cattle for 4-H, time completing record books, planning meetings in youth groups, duties, officers of church or community groups.

  • If you are receiving service hours for another organization i.e. NHS, FFA or Student Council, those hours may apply to Silver Cord hours.

    • Student organization hours for service projects can be used toward the Silver Cord program if the teacher in charge approves.

    • No more than 50% of hours can come from one organization. 

    • Volunteer hours for another organization cannot be completed during the school day.

  • When supervising campers or mission trips do NOT count sleeping or down time

-Hours in question will be reviewed by the Silver Cord Coordinating Committee for approval.

-Any disputed hours between the student and Silver Cord Coordinator will be further reviewed by administration.

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