Updated: Apr 2, 2022
So, you were ordered to complete community service hours by the court, now what?
It can be overwhelming to figure out what to do and where to go. Thankfully, there are things you can do right now to start the process.
The following 5 tips are a step-by-step guide to completing your community service hours.
#1 – Ask your probation officer for recommendations
People are ordered to complete community service hours all the time. Your probation officer might know of some great nonprofits that are easy to work with and will help people complete hours. This is a great place to start.
If this does not work out, then you are on your own and it is time to start researching.
#2 – Reach out to nonprofit organizations you have volunteered with in the past
Contact nonprofits you have served with in the past and ask if they accept court ordered volunteers. If they do not, ask if they will make a special exception for you. Make sure they are a certified nonprofit and can sign off on your hours.
If you are told no then it is time to start researching local nonprofits in your area and finding out where you can complete your service hours.
#3 – Research nonprofits in your area & find out if they accept court ordered community service hours
Start by searching “court ordered community service ” in your area. Hands On Orlando has a service that helps you find these places and other organizations might as well.
After you get a list of organizations, start reaching out and finding out if you are eligible to complete your hours.
#4 – Sign up with multiple nonprofits and give yourself a lot of time to finish
Some people think that completing 10, 20 or 40 hours will not take a long time. They will wait and wait till the very end and then desperately try to find all their hours in a week.
Do not put yourself or your family through that stress. Instead, start reaching out to those nonprofits you found early and often. Sign up for the orientations, start scheduling hours and always follow though on your commitments.
#5 – Document your hours and know what the process is to complete your community service
Be responsible for your own documentation and keep track of all your community service hours. Ask your probation officer exactly what you need to show proof you completed your hours.
Do not wait to the last minute only to find out that you missed a step in the process and now are not able to get the documentation you need.
Make the most of the opportunity
Once you start to serve and give back to the community, you might find the work rewarding and enjoyable.
A lot of people who became lifelong volunteers started after they completed their community service.