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Students with tnAchieves volunteer more than 3 million hours in total

The tnAchieves program has given back more than 3 million hours of community service to organizations across Tennessee, ever since it started in 2009.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Students participating in the tnAchieves haven't just learned about math, history and other kinds of school lessons. They have also been learning about the value of giving back to the community.

Officials said Tuesday that students have officially given back more than a total of 3 million hours of community service by working with organizations across the state, ever since the program started in 2009.

"Our students are learning and embracing the importance of giving back while gaining the skills and education they need to succeed after high school,” said Krissy DeAlejandro, Executive Director of tnAchieves. “Community service opens doors for career exploration while making an impact in students’ local communities.”

More than 100,000 students participate in the program, which provides up to two-and-a-half years of tuition-free community college. It also provides students with a volunteer mentor to encourage and guide them through the process of transition into college.

To maintain the scholarship, students are required to complete 8 hours of community service each semester. They can choose the area they wish to volunteer in and many choose to work with animal shelters, food pantries, state parks and community clean-up efforts.