Image courtesy: PVSA website (https://presidentialserviceawards.gov/)
The President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) is a token of gratitude and encouragement granted to volunteers who have made a great contribution to the local communities and country. Based on the annual volunteer hours, the candidates are granted Gold, Silver, and Bronze Awards together with a citation and a medal or coin. High school students over 16 years of age are eligible to receive the Bronze Award for over 100 hours of volunteer work, the Silver Award for over 175 hours of volunteer work, and the Gold Award for over 250 hours of volunteer work. All applicants must first have their volunteer hours verified through a certification body. You should first check whether the organization that you are working is recognized for the PVSA. If it is not, advise your volunteer organization to contact the PVSA certification organization to be registered as a registration and assessment agency for the PVSA nominated by the U.S. government. Applications for the PVSA cannot be submitted by individuals, but must be submitted through a certified local organization.
Image courtesy: PVSA website (https://presidentialserviceawards.gov/)
The PVSA is divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, depending on the total volunteer hours and age.
Volunteers who meet the application requirements for the PVSA can submit an application through a registration and assessment agency. Students who participated in group volunteer programs through Korean American groups, religious organizations, etc. should check the total hours of volunteer work performed in the year by age, and submit applications according to the type of reward. After an assessment period, successful candidates will receive their awards such as a letter from the President of the United States, pins, coins or medallions. To be eligible for the PVSA, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States, be over 5 years of age, and have performed the required volunteer hours (the total cumulative volunteer hours regardless of organizations are counted for the Lifetime Achievement Award). The supporting documents must clearly state the date, time, and detailed activities, and be confirmed by the head of the organization, manager, supervisor, or other official representative. Lastly, the certification organization checks and verifies the applications. Activities that are considered as volunteer work are as follows:
1. Youth Achievement
Volunteer activities that help young people to be interested in education. Examples include mentoring, coaching and tutoring.
2. Park and Open Space
Volunteer activities dedicated to preserving local parks and creating safe playgrounds and pleasant environments Volunteer activities related to personal experiences or external activities dedicated to creating a safe environment and preserving natural resources.
3. Health Communities
Volunteer activities dedicated to helping the elderly, people with disabilities, the infirm, undernourished children and adults, and the homeless. Examples include activities that promote health education, nutrition education, vaccination, resume writing training, hospital assistance, and blood donation campaign.
4. Public Safety & Emergency Response
Volunteer activities that protect the community from threats to public safety and order such as crime, terrorism, and all types of natural disasters including volunteer police and volunteer firefighter programs.
Most universities in the United States do not grant admission simply based on the student's academic performance. They tend to evaluate whether the candidate used his or her education and talent to contribute to the local community and nation, and help those who are less fortunate have a better life, and consider this as an important virtue. The culture of giving back what individuals received from the society and the surrounding community is deeply rooted in the people’s mind. Furthermore, volunteers find the meaning of their life and think about other people’s lives during their volunteer work. It creates an amazing virtuous cycle where people are motivated to work together to make a better society. Receiving the PVSA can be recognized as objective evidence that verifies the student’s involvement in volunteer activities. For this reason, the government actively encourages students preparing for university applications to use this program.
The youngest student volunteer to participate in Mugunghwa Sharing Event
Korean American Community of Metro Detroit and Korean School of Ann Arbor are the two major organizations that handle the PVSA related affairs for Korean Americans in Michigan. Korean American Community of Metro Detroit particularly has a long history and a great significance as it was the first in 160 Korean American organizations in the United States to be selected as a PVSA certifying organization. The Korean American Community of Metro Detroit was searching for things that they could do for the next generation of Korean Americans, and discovered the PVSA program. Through various efforts, it was finally recognized as a reliable organization by the federal government in 2010 (U.S. Government Certified License Number: 39723745). The organization has been handling the related matters for Korean Americans since. The awards ceremony is held during the March 1st event and Liberation Day each year to commemorate the noble spirit of Koreans who sacrificed themselves for the country and people. Korean School of Ann Arbor was registered as a PVSA certifying organization in 2021. In 2022, eight students who performed volunteer activities in the school received the citations and medals on the first day of the new semester.
The application deadline for the PVSA in the first half of 2023 is January 19 and June 30 for the second half of 2023 at the Korean American Community of Metro Detroit. The awards ceremonies will be held during the March 1st Movement event and August 15th Liberation Day event, respectively. You can download the PVSA Application Form and Applicant Information Form in the official website of the Korean American Community of Metro Detroit. You can also find further information about the application on the website.
Student volunteers affiliated with the Korean American Cultural Center is participating in Mugunghwa Sharing Event
/ Medal per Hour
Kids (5–10 years old)
Teens (11–15 years old)
Young Adults (16–25 years old)
Family and group *
Lifetime Achievement Award: 4,000+ hours for all age groups
* For families or groups comprised of two or more people, each member must have contributed at least 25 hours of volunteer work
The official website of the President's Volunteer Service Award : https://presidentialserviceawards.gov/for-volunteers
The official website of the Korean American Community of Metro Detroit : http://www.detroitkorea.com/xe15/PresidentialAwards