Ms. Douglas is an upper school counselor and learning specialist and Mr. Dunster is head of the upper school at Lausanne Collegiate School in Tennessee. Both see great value in teaching philanthropy and service to their students.

Close to four hundred 9th through 12th grade students participated in the service learning project The Freshman Project. Using the lesson, Getting Ready for Grantmaking, students were introduced to the grant process, as most of the students were unaware of anything involving grants or nonprofit funds.

The freshman class teamed with Crump Elementary School all year for tutoring and mentorship. The students wanted to be able to send home food boxes for Crump students and their families for the holidays so that students would have plenty to eat over the break. The high schooler’s came up with a goal of giving 48-50 boxes, but with the Learning to Give mini-grant grant, they were able to make 83 boxes! 

Students selected the food items for boxes, organized the donation process, and helped purchase the food items. As part of the process, the students practiced budgeting and learning about supply and demand. 

The students “spent a lot of time discussing the impact of not having enough food over the holidays,” said Ms. Douglas. “They were very cognizant of how often they take food for-granted and how they associate the holidays with good food.” 

The mini-grant helped students to understand the need just down the road from their school. “Being at a private school, it is easy for students to forget how much they have in comparison to the rest of society,” said Mr. Dunster.

The service project was a very humbling experience for the students and they spent time reflecting on how their holidays would look without food. This is a project that the school plans to continue to do again in the future.