tnAchieves students reached a significant milestone in the student success program’s history this Spring. tnAchieves students have now given back more than 3 million hours of community service to organizations across the state since the program’s inception in 2009.

“tnAchieves was built on a foundation of giving back and we are excited to announce that our students have invested more than three million hours of community service in Tennessee,” said Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director of tnAchieves. “Our students are learning and embracing the importance of giving back while gaining the skills and education they need to succeed after high school. “Community service opens doors for career exploration while making an impact in students’ local communities.”

Education non-profit tnAchieves administers the Tennessee Promise Scholarship to high school graduates in 90 of 95 counties in the state. The scholarship program provides students with up to two and a half years of tuition-free community or technical college, as well as a volunteer mentor to encourage and guide them through the process. In turn, the students are required to give back to their community by completing eight hours of community service each semester to maintain the scholarship.

Students are allowed to choose the area in which they wish to volunteer their time. Many students choose to give back to animal shelters, food pantries, Tennessee State Parks and other community clean-up efforts, in addition to working community events at their schools and churches. Students are also encouraged to job shadow as part of their community service to gain more insight into career fields of interest. When asked, 99% of students indicated they enjoyed their community service experience.

tnAchieves Chairman and Founding Member Randy Boyd believes the community service pillar of the program is key to keeping students invested in the scholarship program and ultimately leads to more successful citizens.

“It is amazing to see the impact that tnAchieves has had on our state, from increasing the college completion rate to creating a culture of college going that didn’t exist before,” Boyd, President of The University of Tennessee System, said. “However, I am most proud of the community service portion of the program. It is what sets us apart from so many other scholarship programs around the country.”