Service Sparks: Spark a Giving Conversation

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Ignite meaningful action that lights up the world through "Service Sparks" youth projects! Spark a conversation about giving and generosity. Follow this simple guide to talk about generous action for the good of all. One conversation may spark another and spread generosity like ripples in the larger community. A great lead up to the holidays and #GivingTuesday.


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

How do we raise giving and caring kids? It can be as simple as starting a conversation. Our world needs each person's time, talent, voice, and treasure to address its greatest needs. Through conversation we can find common ground and build a sense of generosity and personal power to give. This guide is designed to spark conversations around your dinner table or with youth in your community. Family can be defined generously to include the variety of families kids are part of – even groups and classrooms. Everyone has something to give; here we develop the language of philanthropy and spark the motivation for giving. 

  1. As you sit around a table or in a circle, introduce the idea that giving is the work of a lifetime and we each have the power to make the world a better place through our voices, gifts, empathy, and action. 
  2. Choose one or more of the following to discuss:


  • Tell about a time you did something kind for someone else or when someone did something kind for you. 
  • How do acts of kindness make us feel as givers and receivers? What changes internally and in the larger community when we are kind?


  • Talk about what empathy means to you. What can you do to show your interest and curiosity in someone else’s experience? 
  • What can you do to help someone who is [fill in a familiar issue, such as helping someone who is left out or teased]?
  • What do you do and say to show you are listening and understanding?

Habits of Giving/Giving Time:

  • What are our/your family beliefs and traditions of giving and sharing?
  • What are your talents and interests that can connect to needs in the community?
  • Advocacy means speaking up for someone or something. What is a way you can use your voice to raise awareness about an issue or ask people to take action?

Community Issues:

  • What do you see as important problems or issues in your community or in the world?
  • What organizations in our community are doing work in those areas?
  • What is responsible citizenship? What can young people do to make the world better?


  • List some ways our families, communities, and world are better/stronger because of our differences.
  • What are some values and beliefs we all have in common related to making a better world?
  • What are ways we can act generously to heal an injustice we see?
  • Think of someone whose story you would you like to hear. Maybe it is an older person in your community or a leader of a nonprofit organization. What are some steps to spark a new conversation with the goal to listen and learn about another person?
  1. Watch this video and talk about the meaning of the word philanthropy. 

  1. Make a commitment as a family or group to take action with your time, talent, voice, or treasure or to have more conversations about ways to make a better world.
  2. More resources from Learning to Give to facilitate conversation:
  • Read Amanda Gorman's book Change Sings and facilitate conversations about our personal power to effect change with this new literature guide.
  • Read the book, The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague. This literature guide can facilitate conversation about the ripples our actions spark. 
  • Read the book, Just Ask: Be Different, Be Brave, Be You! by Sonia Sotomayor. This literature guide facilitates conversation about our differences.
  • This Oral History guide can facilitate interviews with family and friends about giving.
  1. Read aloud and reflect on what the following quote by Amanda Gorman means. Then talk about what stands before us to do together.

"And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us." - Amanda Gorman

Explore more Service Sparks projects:


Learning to Give ... 

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