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Every Minute Matters

The Service Before Self Challenge has officially ended. In roughly 7 months, the Air Force Academy Family has given back 470,000+ minutes of service to their local communities, far surpassing our goal of 390,000 minutes (6500 hours). Think of all the goodness that was achieved during that time and lives impacted. We are proud to serve such a great community and hope the challenge doesn't end here, hopefully we have inspired a lifetime of service.

Service Before Self - Every Minute Matters

Continuing the "More Than Just a Game" initiative, the Association of Graduates challenges the Air Force Academy family to have a more meaningful impact in their communities in 2020 by participating in the "Service Before Self Challenge." Sixty-five years ago, the United States Air Force Academy inprocessed its first class at the Academy. As we ring in the New Year, we challenge the Air Force Academy Family (grads, cadets, parents, siblings, grandparents, friends of the Academy, etc.) to donate at least 65 minutes of their time to serving their community. The challenge started in January and ends on July 31, 2020.

Your community involvement will even help pay for improvements at your Academy. Log your minutes online and donate them to your favorite squadron. Each month the squadron with the most logged minutes will be recognized as "Top Squadron" and receive $100 toward that squadron's improvement fund.

Get Involved

Help us reach our goal of 390,000 minutes (6500 hours) of service. Join us in the Service Before Self Challenge and give back to your community by donating 65 minutes or more of your time to a cause that is important to you. Log your minutes and share your experience using #USAFAServiceBeforeSelf and #USAFAGradsGivingBack.

Class of 2024 Inprocessing - Letters of Encouragement

On June 25, the Class of 2024 will inprocess into the U.S. Air Force Academy and start their four-year journey with their first challenge - Basic Cadet Training (BCT). During these unprecedented times, the Basic Cadets' experiences will look differently than expected while they face the challenges of BCT. Show your support and words of encouragement by writing a Basic Cadet a letter. For your June and July contributions, if you wish to use your 65 minutes of service writing letters of encouragement for the Class of 2024, please follow the guidelines below. If you have any questions, please contact us at alumnirelations@usafa.org

Letters of Encouragement Guidelines:

  • Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the letters for the Class of 2024 will be submitted virtually using the link below. If you wish to submit a handwritten letter, you may submit a photo of the handwritten letter using the same link.
  • These letters will be sent to Basic Cadets needing an extra dose of encouragement.
  • Make the content professional and appropriate.
  • Be positive with everything you write!
  • Include encouraging phrases, for example, "You can do this!!" or "Don't back down, you got this!"
  • If submitting a photo of a letter, do not include hand drawn pictures or photos (this will cause the letter to be confiscated). To be on the safe side, write on white paper with blue or black ink.
  • We will review every letter and will place each one in a standardized envelope that states, "From Your USAFA Family."

Submit a Letter


Find an activity or event that is meaningful to you and give 65 minutes to it.


Log your minutes from Jan 10, 2020 to July 31, 2020 and tell us about your experience. You can submit multiple logs throughout the challenge.

Getting Started

We encourage each person to find a volunteer opportunity or service activity that is meaningful to him or her. If you need help discovering ways to get involved, here are some service suggestions.

Each month will have a recommended theme with simple ways to give back to your community. Even if you choose a different cause or activity, every minute matters.

January: MLK Day, National Day of Service.
  • Donate your time January 20th or anytime in January and serve your local community.

February: Random Acts Of Kindness, Spread The Love.
  • Drop off treats for first responders, teachers, etc.
  • Write a letter or send a message of thanks to a co-worker, friend, family member, etc. who has had a positive impact on you recently.

March: International Women's Day, Support A Women's Charity/Organization.
  • Dress for Success: Not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
  • Volunteer for local organization for domestic abuse or sexual assault survivors.

April: National Earth Day, Acts Of Service To Help and Give Back To the Environment.
  • Pick up trash around your community or local park.
  • Help plant a garden or trees in your community.

May: Memorial Day, Thank and Remember Community Members For Their Service.
  • Thank a service member by treating them to meal or some other activity.
  • Lay a wreath or flowers at the gravesite of a fallen service member.

June: Class Of 2024 Inprocessing, Words Of Encouragement For the New Class.
  • Write a letter for a new basic cadet. Not every cadet gets mail or maybe even support. Show your support and words of appreciation or encouragement by writing a cadet(s) letter. Further instructions to come.

June: Class Of 2024 Inprocessing, Words Of Encouragement For the New Class.
  • Write a letter for a new basic cadet. Not every cadet gets mail or maybe even support. Show your support and words of appreciation or encouragement by writing a cadet(s) letter. Further instructions to come.

July: Second Annual Grad March Back (VIRTUAL)
  • Let's come together as a USAFA Family and support the Class of 2024. Though our in-person Graduate March Back has been cancelled, this year we are going virtual and expanding participation to our entire USAFA family!
  • Between 18-31 July, join the USAFA Community and walk, run or march 6.2 miles in support of our Class of 2024 cadets returning from Jacks Valley.

Additional Ideas Of Service.
  • Volunteer at local anmial shelter.
  • Offer to walk your neighbor's dog.
  • Offer to babysit your neighbor's children for an evening.
  • Help clean your local park.
  • Donate blood or volunteer at local blood drive.
  • Volunteer at local races, pass out water or snacks.
  • Volunteer at local school and after school programs.
  • Organize a local running or work out group.
  • Welcome a new family to the community.
  • Check in with families with spouses deployed or TDY.
  • Make dinner for families with spouses deployed or TDY.
  • Make a meal with families welcoming a new baby.
  • Volunteer at youth centers/programs.
  • Read a story for kids at local library or events center on base. Host a craft project with local community.
  • Volunteer at local USO, drop off supplies.
  • Send care packages to service members deployed overseas.
  • Volunteer time and supplies to local Fisher House.
  • Volunteer time supporting sport programs.
  • Volunteer at a local VA.
  • Volunteer time at local homeless veterans center.
  • Support local homeless veteran organizations.
  • Pet foster for local shelter or military families.
  • Good at photography? Have a free portrait day for military families.
  • Help new family move into neighborhood.
  • Take time to teach local teens or the community how to change a tire or car oil.
  • Work in finance? Take time talking to local high school students or college students about managing money, how loans work.
  • Work in higher education? Speak to local schools about going to college and the college application process.
  • Become an Admissions Liaison Officer for USAFA.
  • Volunteer at local recycle center.
  • Help cut the lawn or take out the trash for a vet.

In the last couple of months, our daily routines and lives have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19. Now more than ever we need to be a force for service and support our Air Force family and local communities. Most importantly, you need to take care of your own health so that you can help others. However, if you are able to help, here are some ideas to assist others:

  • If you are a graduate or alumni of USAFA, join ZoomieLink. On this platform, cadets are being encouraged to reach out to grads in their community to make sure they have someone to talk to, get advice from, stay connected, etc. while they're away from USAFA.
  • Reach out to neighbors, classmates and loved ones. Many individuals are quarantined. It certainly gets lonely staying home. Many folks would appreciate a call from someone checking in on them and asking how they are doing.
  • Take a few moments to write letters to health care workers who are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. A few words of encouragement would mean a lot to these national heroes. Visit Here to participate.

  • While we urge you not to visit each other, offering to drop off groceries, supplies, or medications on the front step for some of your more vulnerable neighbors or loved ones is okay as long as you take precautions and you are not sick.
  • Collect canned foods or supplies for the local food banks (keep your distance when dropping off).
  • Many schools are closing, but the parents are still working. Homeschooling and working is not going to be easy! You can help virtually assist families by setting up video tutoring for the kids. In addition, you can reach out to local schools to see if they need online tutors or support as they transition to online school.
  • Support small and local businesses by ordering take-out or pickup.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or need assistance please email alumnirelations@usafa.org.