Citadel cadet Terrance Martin worked with fifth - and sixth-graders Monday morning at Daniel Jenkins Academy helping them to identify their strengths so they could build on them.

Then, in the afternoon, the senior from Cowen, Tenn. spent time at Healing Farms Ministries, helping young adults with intellectual disabilities with their daily routines.

Martin and his fellow cadets and staffers at the military college contribute thousands of hours of service work to the Charleston-area each year.

On Monday, the school was recognized for those efforts.

The Citadel landed The Washington Center 2013 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award. Lt. Gen. John Rosa, the school’s president, accepted the award Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The school was one of only five nationally to land an award, which is sponsored by the New York Life Foundation.

“At The Citadel, instilling the importance of selfless service is an essential part of educating principled leaders,” Rosa said. “This award demonstrates that our students are not just learning the value of civic engagement, they are living it.”

School officials said that in the 2011-2012 school year, students contributed 13,000 hours to community service activities. The work has an estimated value of $286,000, they said.

Martin, a criminal justice major, said cadets learn from their fist day on campus that they are expected to serve others. “Service makes better leaders,” he said.

But it’s more than that, he said. He hopes his work can, at least in some small way, make the world a better place. He will be satisfied if the work he has done recently makes a difference in the life of just one person, he said.

And the hands-on experience he is getting will definitely help him when he applies to graduate programs in forensic psychology, he said. He hopes eventually to help young people who have made mistakes turn their lives around, instead of falling into a prison pipeline, he said.

Healing Farms founder Mary Tutterow said many cadets have worked at her organization and their help is valuable. Cadets are prepared when they arrive, she said, and they help the young adults at Healing Farms find ways to contribute to the world. “It’s what make us work,” she said.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.