The West Virginia University Office of Service Learning Programs has teamed up with the White House to become a Certifying Organization for the Presidents Volunteer Service Award, a national program recognizing Americans who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to volunteer service.

Established in 2003, the award was created by President George W. Bush to recognize individuals, families and groups who meet requirements for volunteer service, measured by the number of service hours performed over 12 months.

WVU is one of thousands of organizations that have joined forces to honor the volunteers who strengthen our nation, said Kimberly Colebank, OSLP interim director. As a Certifying Organization, OSLP is responsible for verifying service hours, nominating potential recipients and delivering the award.

We are extremely proud to recognize our most outstanding volunteers with the Presidents Volunteer Service Award,she said.They are role models in our community, donating their time, energy and talent to bring us closer together as neighbors and a nation. The award is our way of thanking them and inspiring everyone in our community to make volunteering a central part of their lives.

Even if youve never volunteered before, the award is within your reach,she added.There are so many ways to contribute, and every volunteer hour makes a difference in improving the quality of life for others. We encourage everyone to get involved and to bring along your family, friends and neighbors. Together, we can strengthen Americaone hour at a time.

The annual award, issued by the Presidents Council on Service and Civic Participation, will be presented in November at WVU with recipients receiving a special pin and certificate signed by the president.

Chaired by two-time Super Bowl champion Darrell Green, with former U.S. Senators Bob Dole and John Glenn as honorary co-chairs, the council is composed of leaders in government, media, entertainment, business, education, nonprofit and volunteer service organizations and community volunteering.