Students must fulfill 25 hours of service per year of enrollment with faith-based organizations who serve the poor and marginalized. We coordinate individual and group service opportunities for students, but encourage them to seek out meaningful ways that they can serve within the structure that is provided. Every time students serve with an approved organization, they are able to earn service hours which will count toward their service hour requirement.
Not missions, not trips. These are experiences led by trained leaders (faculty and staff), in partnership with vetted ministries and organizations and in locations which have been screened, reviewed and assessed for safety and maximum impact. Discovery’s mission is the transformation, growth and heart-change of students, and our experiences are in place to usher that in. We require our students to train extensively for each experience. These experiences generally fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Service & outreach to the poor and marginalized
- Centered on discipleship and spiritual growth
They’re not, but service hours are, and experiences are a way that many of our students complete a portion of their service hour requirement.
All students can go on an experience, provided that they meet the service hour or grade-level requirements. All of our national and international experiences require a specific number of service hours to be eligible. To be eligible, students must have served with a pre-approved organization (see What do students need to know about the service hour requirement? and Where do students find the list of pre-approved organizations? sections), and must have had their submitted hours approved by Discovery. Generally speaking, local experiences require the fewest and the international experiences which are furthest from home require the most. Additionally, the program is set up so that freshmen and sophomores are serving locally and nationally before they participate in an international experience.
Students apply in October and then go through an interview process with team leadership. Students who do not meet the service hour requirement for certain experiences will not be considered for a team. Teams are announced in November.
Valor Discovery utilizes a program called Helper Helper to track and record service hours. Helper Helper is simple & easy to use and can be accessed online or via a mobile App.
All Valor Discovery experiences occur during school breaks. Most happen during spring break, practicum or summer, but some also occur during fall break.
Students typically fund Discovery Experience trips through support letters, our Taste of Discovery fundraising event, and general team fundraising opportunities. Students who are unable to meet financial goals may be considered for sponsorship assistance after diligently pursuing all fundraising opportunities.
Discovery Experience trips provide Valor students with approximately 15-40 service hours, depending on the length and nature of the experience.