Feature Stories

Honoring Volunteers through the President’s Volunteer Service Award

Each September, Minnetonka Schools honors active volunteers in its community through the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA), a national recognition granted to individuals and groups who show exemplary commitment to serving the community.

Every year, around 400 individuals across all ages receive the PVSA award, according to Sarah Johnson, Minnetonka Schools’ Community Service Specialist. To apply, volunteers log their hours from September 1 of a given year and to August 31 of the next year. The three levels of recognition are Bronze, Silver and Gold, with the number of hours needed to qualify dependent on the age of the volunteer. 

“In a world where a lot goes wrong and not enough goes right, I feel it’s my business to try to improve my surroundings,” said Aileen Dosev ‘23, a prior Gold PVSA award winner. “Although this may seem daunting to many people, I find the passion and dedication that others have to service to be very encouraging.”

Through a variety of volunteer activities, Dosev accumulated more than 100 community service hours during her sophomore year.

Some of her volunteer activities include transcribing historical documents with the National Archive Association, acting as an ambassador for new students at MHS and coaching and judging for the MMW Speech Team. However, she revealed that most of her volunteering comes from leading “Service Club Imagine,” a club she founded her freshman year. 

“In the past two years, a large part of mine and the club’s service activities involved organizing donation drives in MHS and the district. We’ve gathered a variety of items, including toys, books, food and teaching supplies, which all benefited people living in poverty,” Dosev explained.

She recalled an especially memorable experience through their involvement with the Pride for Project in Living (PPL) in Minneapolis. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people had been left unemployed, thus driving high demand for PPL’s career services. With her club, Dosev organized an educational supply drive for PPL’s career program, which aids individuals in securing long-term employment. 

“When I met with PPL’s volunteer coordinator to exchange the donations, I could see the happiness on her face through her mask,” Dosev said. “[She] told us about how difficult it was to gather support during the pandemic, and expressed her thanks several times.”

Seeing the positive impact her work was able to bring to others, Dosev shared how this experience helped motivate her club to continue their meaningful work in the community. 

“In the upcoming year, my club and I are excited to combat socio-economic inequality and uplift the historically disadvantaged,” she explained. 

Naming her club after John Lennon’s song, “Imagine,” Dosev acknowledges volunteering as a way to give back to one’s community. “Knowing that there are other people who also want to make the world a better place is definitely powerful,” she noted. 

Thank you to all our volunteers for your commitment and dedication to making our community better!

If you’re eligible to apply for the PVSA award, don’t forget to apply here by September 17, 2021. If not, you may start logging hours for next year’s PVSA award program, which counts all hours from September 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022. 

Photo courtesy of Aileen Dosev

For questions about Minnetonka's award process contact:

Sarah Johnson
Community Service Specialist

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