Lifelong Leadership: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

9, 10, 11, 12

To enable students to recognize various roles that an individual leader can take throughout his life.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 50 Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • be able to cite and identify various examples of the philanthropic work that Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter have done throughout their whole lives.
  • be able to compare and contrast their own philosophy about giving and serving with that of the Carter family.
Home Connection 

Students list three ways they would like to influence change or contribute to society after they graduate from high school.


Jimmy Carter Museum and Library:

Learning to Give Briefing Paper about President Jimmy Carter:


  1. Anticipatory Set: As president, Jimmy Carter had only four years to make an impact, but he was one of the most active former presidents in history. Does anyone know about his accomplishments as president? Does anyone know what he did after he left office? Let's take about 20 minutes to find out as much as we can about his life.

  2. Students are divided into groups and asked to research via the Internet the following areas of Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter's lives (one topic per group):

    • Their growing-up years and service in the military
    • The non-political years of their lives together
    • The years of service as governor of Georgia
    • The years of service as President
    • The Carter Center
    • The work for Habitat with Humanity
    • The peace initiatives in free elections in Panama and the Middle East.
  3. This work is only meant to provide information — no more than 25 minutes should be devoted to the research. See Bibliographical References for research sites.

  4. After each group has presented the various facts related to their subject, the class as a whole should make a list of the various leadership positions and roles that the Carters have taken.

  5. Review how Habitat for Humanity works. Theycall on individuals and organizations to work together to provide quality housing in the community.

  6. Explain that when a variety of different groups and individuals come together in the community for the common good, this is an example of community capital. It is "banked good will" that helps build trust between various groups within the community. Ask students to give other examples of how community capital is built within the community and/or school. How does this build trust within the community and help to eliminate the problem of factions working for their own benefit rather than the common good. Can this example work in other places?

  7. As homework, each student should list three ways he or she would contribute to society after high school.

  8. Immediately start on Lesson Eleven: Incorporating Leadership Into My Own Life the next day.


Combined with the next lesson.

Cross Curriculum 

Students will make review the list of their own volunteer and philanthropic efforts over the past year and make projections about how they may make contributions to society throughout their lives.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define the phrase <i>community/social capital</i> and discuss how it relates to all communities and the problem of factions.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Describe civil society advocacy organizations and their relationship to human rights.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Identify and describe civil society sector organizations whose purpose is associated with issues relating to "human characteristics of place" nationally and internationally.
    3. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.13 Define and offer examples of community/social capital.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Identify and discuss civil society sector organizations working to build community/social capital and civil society resources.