Students at select Hillsborough County high schools have an easier way to help the community and the chance to win some great prizes this month. Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) recently teamed up with Profferfish, a cloud-based platform that will allow students to access volunteer opportunities and earn community service hours for Florida Bright Futures in a streamlined, convenient manner on their mobile devices.
According to School Board Chair Melissa Snively, the paperless, secure platform is free to use and will benefit not only students and parents but also counselors, schools and nonprofits.
“The current way the district has to log community service hours is very time-consuming and archaic,” said Snively, who has been working with Profferfish officials for three years to help develop the software. “This way is not only easier and more intuitive for the students, but it will also save our counselors significant effort and hours pushing paper, which will turn into time they can use to work in the schools with the kids who need them.”
In addition to using the platform to log and check in on their community service hours around the clock, students will also be able to search for organizations in the community in need of help.
“Local groups looking for volunteers will just need to log on to Profferfish, create an account and upload their needs,” said Snively.
Currently, one third of the high schools in the county, including Lithia’s Newsome High, have introduced their students to Profferfish and Snively hopes that number will grow in the near future. The school district is also hoping that use of the platform will help students get more involved in their communities.
“Students who give back are less likely to get in trouble and more likely to get better grades,” said Snively. “We hope that Profferfish will encourage more students to get engaged, not just those looking to log Bright Futures hours.”
In an effort to encourage students to use the platform, the school district has teamed up with Caspers Company McDonald’s and Outback Steakhouse to offer incentives.
All students earning four or more community services hours before December 6 will qualify for a drawing to win one of five special Outback Bowl Game Day Experiences.