Issues we care about

Learn and Take Action on the Issues We Care About

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

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.

Each toolkit below includes background on the featured issue, community connections to serve as experts and allies, lessons and activities, project ideas, and planning guides.

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. 

Humans and the Environment

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Humans and the Environment

Being outside, caring for plants and animals, and conserving natural resources are often a young person’s first experience with environmental stewardship. 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.

Neuro and Physical Diversity

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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 related to inclusion for people of different levels and abilities.

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.

Arts and Culture

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Arts and Culture

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. 

Health and Safety

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Health and Safety

Our health and the health of others is important for a healthy community. We can build physical health with exercise and games, healthy food, and sleeping. We can maintain mental health with meditation, relationships, volunteering, and self-care. 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 healthy practices, disease research, anti-smoking/vaping, and mental health.

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.

Crisis Response and Preparation

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Crisis Response and Preparation

When a crisis or 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. 

Civic Participation/Voting

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Civic Participation/Voting

Responsible citizenship includes caring for others and the common good, following current events, learning how to identify reliable information, listening to diverse points of view, voting, and advocating for a cause. This toolkit includes background information, primary documents, lessons, and project ideas. 
Photo Credit:  November 4: D'arby voted! By Gwen is licensed under CC by 2.0

Veterans and People Who Serve

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Veterans and People Who Serve

Learn the stories of people who represent a life of service. They may be veterans who chose to serve in the military or elderly friends who have served as activists or volunteers. Communities are stronger when people take action and work together for a common purpose. These activities, project ideas, and community resources prompt discussions and service that build respect for people of different roles, types of service, and generations.

Literacy

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Literacy

Each person develops literacy, or the ability to read and write, on their own time table and related to their brain development, personal interests, and temperament. Environmental factors strongly influence literacy by building a strong foundation. Young people can learn those factors and help build literacy in their community. These factors include surrounding children with language, making reading a routine, having a variety of reading materials available, and playing games and doing art that sparks playful conversation. 

Kindness

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Kindness

Kindness is hardly ever wrong in any situation. Patience, standing up to injustice, and generous listening can take courage at times, but focusing on small things we can control can make it more manageable. This toolkit provides information, activities, and resources to help youth take big and small actions to promote kindness. 

Global Issues and Goals

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Global Issues and Goals

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. The U.N. established 17 Sustainable Development Goals toward which we can all add our time and passion. This toolkit provides information, activities, and resources to help youth take big and small actions to address some of the worlds most important problems.

 

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 three resources were written by educators and youth facilitators across the country to guide empathy, decision making, community building, and social justice. 

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.