Christian Service Hours

The goal of Dowling Catholic’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 that a student takes a Theology class. 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). Those students completing these requirements by the due date will earn an A+, those completing them after the deadline will earn a C, and anyone not completing all requirements will earn an F. Students will earn .25 credits toward graduation for each semester of Christian service. Because Christian service is a graduation requirement, all service hour failures must be remediated prior to graduation.

Over the years, Dowling Catholic faculty, staff, and families have compiled a list of service opportunities and organizations through which hours may be completed. Only service opportunities 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. A service Verification Form must be completed to receive credit.

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 hour 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. 

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. This needs to 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