Why I want my students to be involved in volunteering and service, etc.
With a family of six children, my parents sought to instill in each of us a “servant’s heart.” It might have been a strategy to help us get along, but it stuck. I tried to foster this virtue in my own children by volunteering together. Both our boys completed Eagle Scout projects, and our daughter attended and presented at multiple youth philanthropy conferences. All three pursued service-oriented professions. I believe we are all recipients of time, talent, and treasure; and we can all be givers of time, talent, and treasure. I want my “school” children to grow socially, morally, and intellectually! This is how I, too, can instill a “servant’s heart” in all my children.
Tips for infusing philanthropy...
We listed good things about our community and ways things can be better. This project quickly became personally meaningful to the students as we narrowed to key areas that touched their hearts. Each of five groups of students was given $50 to spend to support one of five nonprofits: nursing home, state park, sheltered workshop, 4-H, and animal shelter. The groups researched the nonprofits through their websites. They wrote letters of inquiry, and were thrilled when they received responses! The students had to stay within budget and plan a project that used time, talent, and treasure to address the needs of their nonprofit. When some groups needed more than $50, the groups that didn’t need their whole treasure shared with them so the overall money for the class was spent. Our class went on a field trip to visit all the sites and deliver their treasure and services. The students requested that the class add a sixth stop to read to residents at a local retirement community and home of an 84-year old man who had been volunteering to read to us through the Real Men Read program. Most students gave more than the treasure for their favorite nonprofit and recognized the joy of giving. This broadened their awareness of the civic responsibility of each citizen and the power of collective efforts to address needs. The community benefitted from the donated treasure and a more philanthropic youth base.
I taught this LTG lesson
The focus of “Acts of Kindness in My Community” came from the Learning to Give lessons “Community Collaboration” and “Beautiful Me” and the envisioning activity “Blue Sky.” Through inspiring literature, music, and discussion, the students explored their own talents and interests and were truly motivated to make the community a better place.
“Acts of Kindness in the Community” established an atmosphere of kindness in our classroom and school. Acts of kindness are powerful. Helping a fellow student understand an assignment, giving a hug, a smile, or a kind word fosters an ideal learning environment where students are more free to grow, learn, take risks, and be creative. Misbehavior is virtually non-existent. The students feel ownership and empowerment in our classroom. Students like to give, and through the process, they learn to recognize and develop their own gifts and talents. Students gain self-worth and happiness from the emphasis on giving time, talent, and treasure to make the world (or community or classroom) more beautiful. My students are more aware of opportunities to give. They have fully embraced the mandate to make the world a more beautiful place. Students are taking notice of nonprofit organizations and initiating efforts to address needs they hear about in the news. They notice philanthropy around and within themselves through family, stories, and events. Our project led to a school-wide project called “Blizzard of Kindness” that challenges students and teachers to perform personal acts of kindness.