Valuing Community
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define the phrase <i>community/social capital</i> and discuss how it relates to all communities and the problem of factions.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Give examples of human interdependence and explain why group formation is one strategy for survival.

Learners will define community, identify how community is/has impacted their personal lives, and share ideas and develop a plan whereby they might also make an impact on their community.

Print One 45 to 50 minute class period

The learners will:

  • define community and community capital.
  • identify individuals and organizations that impact their lives.
  • develop a personal plan of community service and carry it out.
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the students to think about their concept of community and recall stories of people (including themselves) being inspired to become involved in community. This video of teenagers in San Francisco defining what community means to them can help spur thought.

  2. Sometimes a community is not linked to geography. Brainstorm (save this list for below) examples of this type of community (school community, their faith-based communities, different athletic teams, sports clubs, environmental clubs, communities that form around social justice needs or interests). Guide the students to come up with a definition for community that includes all types of communities. 

  3. Use one of these communities as an example, ask how communities form. Discuss the many different ways communities might form, such as around a common interest or need, and/or because of proximity. Ask the students to identify what communities they have helped form and what types of communities they would like to form around addressing a need.

  4. Discuss the word capital in economic terms (available resources to conduct a business, an organization, or other social endeavor). Ask the learners to share what might be meant by the term community capital. What type of community capital was built up in the stories above and/or the video?

  5. Community capital (social capital) is formed through many social interactions that build trust and enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives. Like a bank account, community capital is built up, and if we withdraw a small amount, the trust isn't depleted by a single negative interaction.

  6. Have the learners share why someone might choose to volunteer to lead or contribute to a community or cause. Discuss possible motivations and list these next to the communities brainstormed (above) (using skills, give back, know someone in need, following a passion or heart).

  7. Some people become involved in the community as a means of giving something back to the community in return for what the community has “given” them, and they, in turn, motivate someone else to give back. This pay-it-forward motivation can have powerful impacts--impacts that may not be directly witnessed at the time.

  8. Have the students work in small groups to identify a local need or issue, a "community" within which to work and at least one act that they can take to improve or give back to that community.


Reflect on this quote from Barack Obama: "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for.”