Christian Service Hours

The goal of Dowling Catholic High School’s Christian Service Hour program is to ensure that students are seeking to serve the community, the world at large, and to see Christ in all people. Christian service is defined as that which takes us beyond a narrow concern for ourselves, and moves us to promote the common good and to uphold the human dignity of every person. In the end we are looking to serve those that are poor, vulnerable, or marginalized in the world around us.

Students must complete 80 hours of service for graduation. Ten service hours, along with a 300-word Reflection Paper, must be completed during each semester. During the semester, theology teachers will keep track of hours and papers for their students; all hours and papers must be turned in by December 1st (fall semester) and May 1st (spring semester). Students taking a summer theology class will report hours during the first semester to the Director of Formation and Ministry.

Over the years, Dowling Catholic faculty, staff, and families have compiled a list of service opportunities and organizations with which hours may be completed. Only service opportunities included on the pre-approved list count towards the graduation requirement. When deciding how to complete your service hours, be sure to first consult the list to be sure they will be approved. If an opportunity or organization is not on the list, but you’d like to have your service with them count towards the requirement, consult your theology teacher about how to get them added to the list. Any service opportunity not included on the list must be pre-approved by a theology teacher and the Service Hour Committee. Completed hours must be tracked and submitted using the online system, x2VOL, which can be accessed through each student’s Family Connection account. Incoming freshmen tracking summer hours and students needing a hard copy of service hours may use the Service Verification Form to track hours initially. 

Pre-approved service opportunities (pdf)

Service verification form (pdf)

 Additional service hour guidelines: 

  • Service hours consist of time donated to the community. Students may not be reimbursed financially for service time. 
  • Activities assisting immediate family members (those living in your household) will not be considered service hours.
  • Service hours submitted through x2VOL must be verified by a site supervisor. Students should obtain a site supervisor email address. If no email is available, students should use the Service Verification Form to obtain a verification signature. This form can then be uploaded into x2VOL and/or given directly to the student’s theology teacher for verification of hours.
  • For students using Service Verification Forms:
    • Service hours forms may not be signed by a family member or a student.
    • A sheet with the hours crossed off or rewritten will not be accepted.
    • Service hour forms must be written in ink.
    • The name and signature must be legible.
    • Date and phone number are required.

Service Cord 

Dowling Catholic students have the opportunity to be awarded a Service Cord at graduation. In order to be awarded the DCHS service cord senior students must:

  • Have at least 210 Christian service hours by mid-April.
  • Get a letter of recommendation from one of your current or past Theology teachers.
  • Write a speech or create a PowerPoint of at least five minutes on the topic of service, including the service you have done and why it is important to do service. It must be approved by the Service Cord Coordinator.
  • Present your speech to a 9th grade Theology class which will be scheduled by the Service Cord Coordinator.
  • When all steps have been successfully completed, you will receive the DCHS service cord at graduation.


Dowling Catholic High School  |  1400 Buffalo RD.  |  West Des Moines, IA  |  50265  |  (515) 225-3000