I don't think anyone would doubt that giving back to your community has a positive impact on both the givers and receivers and is something that should be encouraged at a young age. Many high schools require some sort of community service for students to graduate, but there is often a ton of paperwork involved, which can lead to inconsistent record keeping and confusion.
Acorn Hours is a Little Rock, Arkansas-based startup that helps streamline and manage student community service requirements. They have developed an online platform that benefits both the service organizations and the schools, in addition to making the records easily accessible to students who need the information for college and job applications.
Their mission and core beliefs are stated as follows:
“The mission of Acorn Hours is best summarized in a quote by Martin Luther King: “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” We think that by making it easier for school to track their student's service they can teach service-learning more effectively. These are our core beliefs:
Better metrics means better service: Accountability and service need to be intertwined. This allows teachers to know what is happening even when they are not there and implement more effective programs.
Story telling can change the world: When young people do service and tell the world about it, there is a compound effect that moves others to act. We want to help students be the catalysts for change in their community by sharing all the amazing work they do.
Teachers are too important to be doing paperwork: Teachers spending hours compiling and keying in stacks of paperwork is a waste of their most precious resource, their time. We want to break up with service learning paperwork once and for all.”
Community service hours are verified with the appropriate organization and pictures and social media are also used to enhance verification. The platform also allows the students to have a voice. They can set up profiles, provide feedback, and tell stories about their service experiences.
Founder and CEO, David Allan has served with non-profit organizations across the country and in South Africa. Between high school and college David worked for Americorps in Chicago where he taught third grade studentsg and ran an after school program. He started Acorn Hours while a student at Hendrix College.
Acorn Hours demoed at Tech Cocktail's first Little Rock, Arkansas event back in November.