Service Sparks: Photo Stories of Cultural Generosity

Grade Level: 
4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Keywords: 
African American
Art
Cultural/Historical Contexts
Diverse Communities
illustration
Stories
Ignite meaningful action that lights up the world through "Service Sparks" youth projects! Philanthropy is often equated with giving money, but every culture has its own rich tradition of giving, which may look like sacrificial generosity, community support, networking, or speaking up for necessary changes. What generosity do you see in your own family and neighborhood? In this activity, youth look for and capture the stories of philanthropy that express loving and powerful cultural practices.

SERVICE SPARKS

Ignite meaningful action that lights up the world through "Service Sparks" youth projects! 

The everyday sacrificial giving of African American culture doesn't often make it into history books, but its powerful impact supports families and communities as help is needed. Every culture has traditions of giving, which may look like empathy, generosity, community support, networking, or speaking up for necessary changes. In this activity, youth look for and capture the stories of philanthropy that express loving and powerful cultural practices. What generosity do you see in your own family and neighborhood?

  1. Look up and talk about the definition of philanthropy. What do you think it means, and what examples are talked about in your community and in the news? 
  2. Read and talk with your family about the giving culture of your family heritage. 
  3. If you have the opportunity to attend the Soul of Philanthropy exhibit, schedule time to walk through and observe the photos and read the stories of African American philanthropy. The exhibit includes beautiful pictures that illustrate the many ways that our neighbors, grandfathers, and aunties are giving back today and through history without always being recognized. This is the deep story of the power of philanthropy to lift up our neighbors and change communities. 
  4. More than an art exhibit, Soul of Philanthropy is an opportunity to bring people together to have conversations about what we can do with our time and connections to fight injustice and collaborate around our shared values. The focus on African American philanthropy helps us see powerful actions that have often flown below the radar, and it is a starting point to talk about ways we can all give and other cultural traditions of philanthropy.
  5. Young people are philanthropists too, and they have the power to make a difference through sharing stories that influence and inform. Photographic stories show the transformative power of love of humankind by describing the small influential actions and attitudes that add up to change.

Discuss:

  • In what way do you see yourself or the people you love in the images?
  • What do the pictures remind you of?
  • What acts of kindness and selflessness have you observed in your home, school, or community?
  • Who inspires you?
  • What is most important to your friends and family?
  • What change do you want to see in your community?  

Take action: Over weeks and months, take photos that tell the stories of philanthropy in your family and in the community. Capture love, generosity, and empathy. Show people in their journeys. Show them speaking up with courage. Illustrate the needs that break our hearts and the actions that help us grow together. After you and others have several pictures, pick the best to share in an exhibit and invite the community to observe and discuss the soul of youth philanthropy. People listen to youth. What you do today matters today, and it is part of your life journey. 


Explore more Service Sparks activities.

SERVICE SPARKs


Learning to Give ... 

  • educates youth about philanthropy, the civil society sector, and the importance of giving their time, talent and treasure for the common good (knowledge),
  • equips youth by encouraging philanthropic behavior and experience (skills), and,
  • empowers youth to take voluntary citizen action for the common good in their classrooms, lives and communities (behavior).