Texas students donate thousands of hours' service

Seven Lakes High School students in the “Spartans Out Serving” or SOS club, gave nearly 35,000 hours to serving the local community this school year. Over 1,500 students belong to the voluntary club, which tracks hours and connects with local service organizations via x2VOL —an online system developed by a Texas-based company, intelliVOL.

x2VOL is a cloud-based volunteer management and service learning system that tracks community service hours and connects students with charitable organizations in their area. At Seven Lakes High School, teachers act as student “sponsors” who guide students and approve their volunteer hours with x2VOL. The online system saves hundreds of administrative hours which used to be needed at the end of the year to approve and log the students’ efforts.

“Before x2VOL, students were handing in their work all at one time, which put a time restraint on the sponsors to thoroughly review the hours,” said Tracey Grimme the library media specialist who oversees SOS. “Now, sponsors can review and approve hours without fuss. There’s no back-and-forth, no having to go back to the service group to confirm hours.” Such efficiency is critical with 1,500 students giving 35,000 hours this year.

Before x2VOL, signing up for service opportunities used to be a time-intensive process. “Students would sign up by email or call the group they wanted to help. We would put notices up about the opportunities and send out emails but x2VOL made this much easier,” said Ms. Grimme. Now, students can register with one click and the service organization immediately knows their slot is filled. A private calendar helps students keep track of their schedules and allows them to write in work they find on their own.

Studies show that burdensome paperwork is a major reason volunteers quit. x2VOL can boost volunteerism because it eliminates paperwork and it capitalizes on powerful web-based features. “Kids are digital natives,” said Christie Whitbeck, the school principal. “To log in on a piece of paper is not their way. We are tapping into their world with x2VOL; this is how they think and operate. By making [the tracking of hours] convenient, they are more apt to do it. x2VOL increases their accountability.”

“High school across the U.S. are using x2VOL but the 35,000 hours from Seven Lakes High School stands out because it reflects a strong commitment to serving their community,” said Michele Pitman, intelliVOL president. “x2VOL gives high schools, like Seven Lakes, the ability to recognize students who give service to others and have such a positive impact in their community. The desire to serve others shines through these students as well as through their teachers and parents.”