High School Community Service

A Guide to Community Involvement


Community Involvement Requirement

As part of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) requirements, students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities during their secondary school years. Accumulation of community involvement hours may begin in the summer after grade 8 and must be completed by December of grade 12.


What will you get out of volunteering?

Volunteering is about of oneself to make a difference for others and for the greater food of the community. Getting involved in meaningful community work helps to build character, a sense of purpose, and belonging.

The purpose of the community involvement requirement is to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility, the positive role they can play in society, and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities.


Roles and Responsibilities of the School

TWS is responsible for communicating to students, parents and guardians the requirements for community involvement and the nature of eligible activities. The High School Administrator is responsible for verifying and tracking students’ service hours and for sending out annual notices about the accumulation of hours. Activities that are ineligible will not count towards meeting the requirement.

A Community Service Activity Log should be filled out for each volunteering experience. Logs are available in the High School Administrator’s office and can be requested electronically. When a student completes the requirement, the High School Administrator makes note on the student’s Ontario Student Transcript (OST) and reports the completion of the requirement to the Ministry of Education.



Roles and Responsibilities of Students

All students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community service in order to qualify for the OSSD, but students are encouraged to go beyond the 40 hours. When choosing an activity, students should consult the list of eligible/ineligible activities, and consider their interests, and possible career paths, as well as the needs of the community.

Students need to submit a Community Service Activity Log to the High School Administrator when they have completed an activity. The log needs to be signed by the parent/guardian, and the employer/supervisor needs to sign, date and complete the mid-section with information about the organization and the nature of activity completed.

When participating in a community involvement activity, students should demonstrate a positive work ethic and a sense of responsibility. Students need to be aware that they are ambassadors of the school and should behave in a manner that is in accordance with school policies and the code of conduct. Students should be willing to develop new skills, strive to follow directions, and comply with workplace rules and regulations. Community sponsors will expect punctuality, appropriate dress, respect for others and common courtesy. Students may also need to adhere to confidentiality of workplace information and privacy considerations.

It is the student’s responsibility to have the employer/sponsor complete and sign the Log at the end of the activity, and submit the completed form to the High School Administrator.


Roles and Responsibilities of Parents/Guardians

Parents and Guardians play a vital role in helping to encourage students to find placements, and to support the value of community involvement. Parents/Guardians should provide assistance in the selection and monitoring of the activities. However, it is important to not that parents/guardians may not act as formal community activity sponsors for their own children.

Parents/Guardians must sign the Community Service Activity Log and make themselves aware of what types of activities are considered eligible and ineligible.


Roles and Responsibilities of Community Sponsors/Organizations

Employers/supervisors/sponsors should provide suitable training or instruction for the student to be able to carry out the activity safely, responsibly and appropriately. The person overseeing the activity must verify the date(s) and the number of hours completed on the Community Service Activity Log. The supervisor should also describe the nature of the work, and may wish to provide feedback to the student in the description section.

The employer should be aware that TWS does not supervise its students during community involvement activities.


What activities are eligible?

Eligible activities are those which provide service to improve the community or well-being of its members and which should take place at not-for-profit organizations. All activities must take place outside of scheduled class time and must be performed without pay. Activities may also be performed outside of Ontario, provided that appropriate documentation is provided by the organization and that the activity is approved by the High School Administrator.

TWS, as a charitable organization, has several volunteer opportunities for students to perform on the premises, including volunteering at the TWS summer camp, after school program, and keeping score for the competitive sports program.

There are many local organizations that can help find volunteer placements. Generally, you will find plenty of opportunities with charitable organizations, community agencies, community centres, government offices, service clubs (e.g. Rotary Club) and volunteer centres.


Examples of Eligible Activities

Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • assist with school events, assist School Councils, activities for children
  • organization and leadership of school activities that benefit the community
Animal Care
  • volunteering in a zoo, animal shelter, or on a farm
Arts and Culture
  • volunteering in galleries, libraries, community productions
Charitable Organizations
  • assisting with special events, programs, clerical tasks
Child/Youth Programs
  • assisting with child/youth programs, volunteering in a not-for-profit child care centre or camp
Community Organizations
  • assisting with special events, food banks, community support services, shelters, clerical tasks
Community Service for Individuals
  • assisting community members in need
Environmental Projects
  • flower/tree planting, beautification projects, recycling projects, recycling depot
Health Agencies
  • volunteering in hospitals, hospices, Canadian Blood Services (volunteering to organize or assist with a blood donor clinic), donating blood (time required to donate)
Law Enforcement Agencies
  • volunteering for activities sponsored by the police
Political Organizations
  • activities related to legitimate and recognized political organizations, municipal, provincial and federal political activities
Religious Organizations
  • assisting with programs, special events at churches, temples, synagogues, mosques
Senior Citizens
  • assisting in seniors’ residences, providing services for seniors in the community
Sports and Recreation
  • coaching, organizing special events, assisting with projects/events
Service Focused Club Activities
  • those activities that expand community service to others beyond the school day (holiday dinner participation, environmental action activities, etc.)


Additional Considerations

  • If an eligible activity also falls within the definition of ineligible activities, the activity will be deemed ineligible.
  • Where a blood donor clinic takes place during the school day, hours will only be provided to students volunteering during their lunch, spare periods or before and after school.
  • Activities at for-profit organizations, such as private camps, child care centres, or farms will not be eligible.


Ineligible Activities

In short, an ineligible activity is an activity that would normally be performed by a paid employee. An ineligible activity:

  • involves any work for a for-profit organization
  • is a requirement of a class or course in which the student is enrolled
  • takes place during the time allotted for the instructional program on a school day with the exception of an activity that takes place during the student’s lunch breaks or “spare” periods, which is permissible
  • takes place in a logging or mining environment, if the student is under 16 years of age
  • takes place in a factory, if the student is under 15 years of age
  • takes place in a workplace other than a factory, if the student is under 14 years of age and is not accompanied by an adult
  • would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace
  • involves the operation of a vehicle, power tools, or scaffolding
  • involves the administration of any type or form of medication or medical procedure to other persons
  • involves handling of substances classed as “designated substances” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • requires the knowledge of a tradesperson whose trade is regulated by the provincial government
  • involves banking or the handling of securities, or the handling of jewellery, works of art, antiques, or other valuables
  • consists of duties normally performed in the home
  • involves  court-ordered program
  • involves participation in extra-curricular activities at secondary school, or any position for which a student stands for school-wide election


Need inspiration?

TWS is committed to helping students find rewarding and meaningful ways to volunteer. Below you will find a list of organizations where students may be able to find interesting, challenging and satisfying work. This list is by no means exhaustive. Students are encouraged to seek out community involvement opportunities that are meaningful to them. TWS Summer Camp is a great way for students to earn their volunteer hours. We can help connect students with the Camp Director to secure a volunteer position.

Amnesty International


Art Gallery of Ontario Youth Opportunities and Summer Camp

Art Gallery of Ontario, Youth Opportunities
AGO Youth programs are designed to provide opportunities for youth to connect with artists, designers, programmers and administrators within the context of a public gallery.

Markham Youth Gavel Club

An affiliate of Toastmasters International, the Gavel Club empowers youth to become more effective communicators and leaders.

Habitat for Humanity

Students must be 16 years old to volunteer on construction sites.

PRIDE Toronto


Young People’s Theatre Summer Camp

Posting from Volunteer Toronto:

Toronto Public Library


City of Toronto

City of Toronto

Find short term and long-term volunteer opportunities.

Luminato Festival

Luminato Festival

Love the arts? High school students between the ages of 14-18 are eligible to join. You’ll gain community service hours and build skills in the areas of customer service, leadership, communication, and collaboration, all while being part of one of the city’s most exciting multi-arts festivals.

Concert Halls

Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall
Toronto-area secondary school students are invited to join Call & Response, a unique volunteer experience at Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall. Meet music and cultural professionals, enjoy arts workshops, gain leadership skills and volunteer experiences, while surrounded by some of the best music in the city!

Vaughan Food Bank


Learn about food rescue and help feed hungry seniors, adults and children.

Vaughan Social Service Agencies – Vaughan Chamber of Commerce Website


Surf the list of charitable organizations in Vaughan (key word non-profit) to find something that moves you: includes Mackenzie Health Foundation, Run for Vaughan, Ontario Soccer Centre, Tennis Canada, and much more!

Toronto International Film Festival

TIFF: Toronto International Film Festival
Be a part of the world’s leading public film festival, bringing the best in Canadian and international cinema to Toronto every September.

TRCA Toronto and Region Conservation Authority

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Do you love the outdoors? Help Toronto wildlife and parks.

Toronto Zoo

Secondary students are invited to enhance visitors’ experiences at special events throughout the year and at our Zoo Kids camp during the summer months.


YMCA of Greater Toronto
The YMCA offers a wide range of programs which address community needs and as a charity we rely on thousands of volunteers to help. We offer many benefits to our volunteers, including learning new skills, meeting new people and making friends while helping people improve their overall health.

Baycrest Hospital

Youth Volunteer Program at Baycrest. Ages 13-24 for youth who want to brighten up someone’s day and assist with programs and fun for residents.

Hesperus Retirement Village



Additional Resources

York Region District School Board Website, Community Involvement Pages

https://www2.yrdsb.ca/schools-programs/secondary-school/experience-secondary-school/graduation- requirements/community

Ministry of Education, Policy and Program Memorandum 124a, Community Involvement