Issues we care about

Toolkits for the Issues We Care About

for youth, educators, group leaders, families, and community groups

Follow an area of interest and prepare to take action. Each toolkit below includes background on the issue, community connections who can serve as experts and allies, lessons and activities, project ideas, and planning guides.

The best service-learning projects

  • guide us to gain and use knowledge,
  • are led by youth voice and passion,
  • address a need,
  • and develop connections with local resources over time.

Listening and Social Justice

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Listening and Social Justice

We have a rich tradition of social action and citizenship in our country. In a time of crisis, we look to generosity and diverse connections to guide our next steps and conversation. These three resource guides, for elementary, middle, and high school, include lessons and activities to build inclusion and understanding of social justice. The guided facilitation for remote or in-person meetings takes learners through a journey of empathy, making decisions, taking voluntary action, and finally telling and sharing stories of diverse people to make a better world. 

Humans and the Environment

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Humans and the Environment

Being outside, caring for plants and animals, and recycling are often a young person’s first experience with environmental stewardship. Young people looking to a sustainable future may feel alarm about aging water pipes, environmental contamination, plastics in the ocean, overuse of natural resources, and air pollution. This toolkit shares resources to learn, connect, and take action now as environmental stewards to assure a sustainable future in harmony with the gifts of nature.  

Homelessness and Poverty

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Homelessness and Poverty

Breaking the general stereotypes associated with homelessness and poverty with information and ideas may greatly help individuals who are experiencing such struggles. Each young person has a voice, heart, and hands to take big and small actions to make a difference. This toolkit provides information, activities, and resources to help youth learn and take action for a meaningful purpose.

Hunger and Malnutrition

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Hunger and Malnutrition
The problem with hunger and malnutrition is more complex than access to healthy food. It is complicated by multiple societal issues that we can address. Youth are equipped with a voice, heart, and hands to take big and small actions for a meaningful purpose to help raise awareness of and fight the issues of hunger and malnutrition.  This toolkit provides information, activities, and resources to help youth take big and small actions to promote healthy living for all.

Embracing Neuro and Physical Diversity

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Embracing Neuro and Physical Diversity

Every person has individual traits that make them unique and who they are. Society is enriched when it embraces our differences as gifts and characteristics to understand and respect. Awareness can change attitudes, laws, and opportunities. This toolkit provides information, activities, and service-learning project ideas to make all youth aware of ways to show respect and appreciation for people of different levels and abilities.

Equity and Justice

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Equity and Justice

The promise of America is liberty and justice for all. In an effort to assert their own views, people often cannot listen to the words or hear the needs of others and have difficulty finding common ground. As citizens of a fair and just society, we can understand our own responsibilities and advocacy paths to justice. This toolkit links to background information, activities and resources, and project ideas related to equity and justice and advocacy. 

Women and Gender

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Women and Gender

Women around the world face challenges at all levels of income, education, global development, and age. In addition, anyone who identifies as transgender, gender fluid or nonbinary frequently faces judgment, discrimination, hate, even violence. This toolkit provides information, advocacy tools, lessons, and project ideas to help young people take action to change the world view of gender and demand equity.

Immigration and Refugees

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Immigration and Refugees

The common humanity of love, hard work, and valuing community are shared across all cultures. In spite of the diverse roots that make up our country, some immigrants who come for opportunity and refugees who are forced to leave their homes are treated with disrespect or even cruelty. Young people have the opportunity to speak up and raise awareness of the beauty of diversity and value of embracing people of all backgrounds and situations.

The Arts as a Cultural Necessity

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The Arts as a Cultural Necessity

Art is an essential part of adding quality to our lives. Through visual, performance, and other art forms, people gain joy and explore the themes of life. Art may be an expression and communication tool to advocate for issues. Or youth may advocate to add art to their community. This toolkit includes lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to the arts. 

Establishing a Culture of Kindness

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Establishing a Culture of Kindness

Teach lessons that explore how acts of kindness vs bullying behavior impact the whole community. Link to four anti-bullying units and character education units.

This toolkit provides lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to promoting kindness and anti-bullying. 

Advocacy for Animals

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Advocacy for Animals

For many young people their first experience with philanthropy comes out of their love of animals. They may learn about threatened or mistreated animals. They may volunteer at the local shelter or donate toys and treats. They may choose to become vegetarian or teach others about cruelty-free farms or food-waste reduction. View this toolkit of books, community connections, lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to animal advocacy.

How Do We Respond to and Prepare for a Crisis?

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How Do We Respond to and Prepare for a Crisis?

When disaster strikes, whether caused by nature or humans, the humanitarian spirit of individuals and communities swells. The lesson plans, project ideas, and links to nonprofit resources here provide opportunities to discuss our response to disaster and explore actions that young people can take before and after disaster strikes. 

Intergenerational Relationships

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Intergenerational Relationships

Communities are stronger when people of diverse backgrounds and ages become friends and work together for a common purpose. These lessons, project ideas, and community resources prompt discussions and service that build respect for people of different generations -- older and younger. The Our State of Generosity resources are based on servant leadership and stories of lifelong philanthropists.

Global Issues of Peace and Justice

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Global Issues of Peace and Justice

We are all connected in a global world where the actions of people across the world impact our lives. From poverty to education to environment and refugees, the issues of the world are the issues of our communities. Photo Credit:  Grandma, Baisakhi by Nevil Zaveri is licensed under CC by 2.0

Literacy and Literature

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Literacy and Literature

Raise awareness of the importance of literacy with Learning to Give lessons and activities. Reading and reflection offer an opportunity to explore universal themes of kindness and the common good:

  1. motivations of the characters
  2. how characters' actions impact the greater community
  3. themes and instances of the struggle between self-interest and common good

Health and Safety

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Health and Safety

These lesson plans, project ideas, and community resources help youth understand and advocate for healthy and safe choices for self and community, as well as learn about advocacy for disease research and mental illness stigma. 

Honoring Veterans and Community Helpers

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Honoring Veterans and Community Helpers

This toolkit of lesson plans, project ideas, and background information raises awareness of the role of veterans, military, and community helpers. Youth gain knowledge of their service as a form of philanthropy - giving their time for the common good. Read literature, study the actions of past military, and take action to advocate for veterans and community helpers and give support to current soldiers. 

The Constitution and Civil Society

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The Constitution and Civil Society

What does the Constitution say about our role as citizens engaged in civil society? This toolkit includes background, primary documents, lessons, and project ideas related to the words of the Constitution. 

Civic Participation and Voting

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Civic Participation and Voting

Teach skills of civic participation from voting to advocating for a cause. Each toolkit includes lesson plans, project ideas, and background information related to civic participation and voting. Civic Participation Toolkit

Photo Credit:  November 4: D'arby voted! By Gwen is licensed under CC by 2.0

We are a global community of diverse stories - past, present, and future. Valuing our communities and sharing our unique stories contribute to a more inclusive world. The following two resources were written by practicing teachers across the country to guide empathy, decision making, community building, and social justice. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) guides include suggested activities and videos to help young people reflect on their personal role in community. Social Justice activities and lesson plans by grade level culminate in a StoryCorps-style project.

Teacher-created philanthropy education lessons magnify the impact of any academic content with themes of generosity, community, and civic and social responsibility. Perfect base for PBL, service-learning, and student-centered instruction. Lessons align to state standards, including Common Core State Standards, and some international standards.