Skip to main content

Silver Cord Program

Program Information

Objective: The North Tama Community School’s Silver Cord program is designed to encourage and recognize students who strive to achieve a high level of service in our community. Service learning builds strong ties between schools and the community and encourages students to give of themselves for the betterment of their community. This program will recognize students on graduation day for their volunteerism. This is an optional program that is open to all students. Students that have met the necessary requirements will wear a Silver Cord on graduation day to recognize their commitment to giving back to the North Tama community.   

Documentation: Students are REQUIRED to document all service activities on the Silver Cord form found on the bottom of this page or in the Secondary office. Seniors must submit all Silver Cord Award documentation by April 30 to be considered as a recipient of this award. All students must document annually their service/volunteerism by June 1 of each school year. Failure to do so may result in not being awarded the Silver Cord of Service Award. All awardees will be announced at their High School graduation ceremony. Students are expected to keep a log of their community service/volunteerism hours. Service hours are accumulated June 1-May 31 for each school year (with the exception of seniors who need to have theirs in by April 30). Students should turn in their hours to the Secondary Office at the end of each semester.

Summer Service: Service hours earned during the summer (after May 31) are applied toward the following school year.

Acceptable/Non-acceptable Service Activities: Silver Cord Award hours must be for providing a SERVICE or meeting a clear NEED for a non-profit agency, church, school, park, charity program fundraiser, or community event. The service should be “above and beyond” one’s usual scope of involvement.

Examples of Acceptable Activities: Volunteering in the community, community service such as cleaning up parks, cleaning up parking lots, working at a food bank, shoveling snow, raking leaves, fundraising that supports an organization (Salvation Army, ringing bells, etc.), church activities (choir in church, teaching Sunday school, etc.), club service hours (FFA, FCCLA, etc.) as long as the hours are outside of school, tutoring (outside of school), visiting the nursing home, and daycare help (not getting compensated).

Examples of Non-acceptable Activities: Employment or anything you are financially compensated to do, anything court ordered or because of school misconduct, athletic/academic participation, sports team managing or training, rehearsing for a play or choir concert, anything to do with family, baby/dog sitting for individuals if paid, school activities such as sale of prom booklets and homecoming events, anything performed during school hours unless approved by a teacher in charge, fundraising for yourself, anything that earns the student credit towards a letter grade in a class.

Criteria: The following items are key points to remember in this process:

      Group activities should be supervised

      Individual activities should not be court ordered, for school misconduct, or for a class

      Activities should NOT be for pay

      Activities must be documented

      Student organization hours can be used if the teacher in charge approves it

      Hours count from the end of 8th grade, including summer hours

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

      Hours must be submitted at the end of each semester to be considered

      Parents CANNOT sign form unless approved by the principal or counselor prior to the event 


200 Hours Needed over the course of four years (50 hours minimum for each year of high school).

Transfer Students: The required hours will be pro-rated dependent upon their current grade classification.

Approval of Hours: The Silver Cord Committee will approve or disapprove hours. All service/volunteerism hours are considered approved unless notified in writing by the school counselor. Students who wish to appeal for denied service hours must write an appeal to Silver Cord of Service Award Committee for consideration. Letters must include: Name of student, date, documentation of service hours, name and phone number of person who supervised service, and reason for appeal. Submit all appeals to the Silver Cord Committee.

Volunteer Opportunities: The following are organizations, groups, etc. that have volunteer opportunities:

      American Red Cross

      Habitat for Humanity

      Local Churches

      Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Centers


      Salvation Army

      Soup Kitchens

      Meals on Wheels

      Plus One Day Mentoring

      Plus One Day Volunteering

      Boy Scouts of America

      Relay for Life

      Senior Citizens Center

      United Way

      Various North Tama activities


      Traer Theatre

      Tama County Humane Society

Questions about the Silver Cord program should be directed to the Secondary Office.

Program Documents