Disaster Relief - Power, Generosity and Leadership! (6-8)

6, 7, 8

Learners research problems caused by a natural disaster and give examples of aid to help those devastated populations. They learn the roles of the four sectors in responding to the needs. They participate in a collection campaign or other service project and learn about organizations to which they can contribute their philanthropy. Youth carry out the project, track their results, advocate for the cause, and reflect on their participation.

PrintTwo 45-Minute Sessions

The learner will:

  • define philanthropy and its relationship to the four sectors.
  • organize and carry out a collection drive and contribute to a nonprofit organization(s).
  • copies of handouts below


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Discuss the similarities/difference between for-profit, nonprofit, and government sectors. Use Handout One: Sector Information for Discussion as a discussion guide. The three sectors work together to supply goods and services and to meet needs and wants. Many types of organizations/businesses may exist in more than one sector. As an example, public school may be nonprofit while a charter or private school may be for-profit or nonprofit. More obvious examples of different sectors could be given using General Motors as a for-profit organization and the Red Cross as a non-profit.

  2. Tell the students that after a natural disaster (like a hurricane or earthquake), many people and organizations want to help the people who experience loss of homes, loved ones, and other resources. All four of these sectors contribute in times of hardship. Ask the students what kinds of needs people might have after they are hit by a disaster (shelter, food, clothes, water, a way to contact loved ones, health care).

  3. Display the word philanthropy and define it for the students as: sharing time, talent, and treasure, and taking action for the common good. (Tell the students that the nonprofit sector is also known as the philanthropic sector.) Discuss specific ideas of how the foursectors can share time with victims of a disaster (volunteering, fundraising), what treasures they can share (money, food, clothing, blankets), and what talents may be valuable (engineers, doctors, builders).

  4. It takes all four of these sectors working together to respond to the current disaster.

    • The president of the United States will react to the news of the disaster with a public statement of purpose. What government help has been promised to the victims?
    • The president and media will appeal to the household sector for help. Discuss how that relates to philanthropy. How are individuals stepping up to serve and why?
    • Different nonprofit organizations will be active in the disaster area. Discuss what types of resources and services they will offer? Where does their money come from?
    • For-profit organizations will contribute money and other resources. What are their possible motivations for giving?
  5. Ask the learners if they think they could do anything to help. How they could mobilize the power, generosity, and leadership of young people in their class/school/community to respond to the disaster? Brainstorm possible service projects and discuss what information they need in order to decide on a plan.

  6. Help the students collect information by assigning/asking for volunteers to research nonprofit organizations (see Handout Five: Conducting Research and Handout Six: Relief Organizations). Other students may talk to local organizations or family members about possible projects. Encourage the students to talk to others to gain support for a service project. Tell them to gather information, ideas, and support in preparation for the next day's discussion.

  7. Day Two

  8. Use Handout Four: Web of Concern as a model for discussing the different areas of concern in a disaster. Put one area in the center circle (on a display board) and have the learners brainstorm the possible needs and issues related to the area of concern.

  9. Discuss the students' research and information gathering efforts to determine a plan of action for a service project.

  10. Discuss the steps necessary to carry out the project and increase participation by the entire class, school, or community.

  11. Contact an agency to find out specific needs in order to set a goal and be sure the project meets an actual need.

  12. Assign tasks/get volunteers to take on projects such as the following: Create a series of posters to advertise the efforts and provide facts and information. Create a theme song/rap to attract the attention of as many potential philanthropists as possible. Write a letter for the school paper or tape an interview for the local cable station on the natural disaster and the efforts of the relief agency your school decides to support. Discuss if a school group such as the Student Council should take major responsibility for organizing the drive. Should there be a challenge goal?

  13. Plan, organize and begin the collection drive/service project.

  14. Design a system for recording progress and tracking goals.

  15. On a daily basis, reflect on how things are going and how learners feel about what they have done and what they could do.

  16. Teacher Note: Student voice is very important in making the decision of where to donate funds. The choice of organization can be made by voting or by consensus. The learners may decide on one organization to receive the donations, or to give a percentage of the donations to several organizations. Follow up on the work of the organization in the hurricane area by periodically researching their accomplishments and problems as they work to reinvigorate the area. Reflection Activity:

  17. After the collection drive/service projectis complete, have the learners reflect on the issues that have been brought to their attention as a result of the natural disaster. Give each learner a copy of the Reflection Rubric (Handout Three) as a guide. Ask the learners to write an essay/poem/song that encompasses the ideas of personal involvement for the common good. They should include the accomplishments of the collection, how the learner felt acting as a philanthropist for this worthy cause, lessons learned during completion of the task, and the outcomes of the experience. Encourage them to consider what would be the consequences of a world in which there were no private philanthropic efforts made by its citizens. Consider the importance of philanthropy, not only in this particular situation, but also in one’s nation, state, city, school and neighborhood. Will this experience happen once or will it encourage a continued role of personal involvement for the sake of others?

Cross Curriculum 

The learners will collect money or items fordisaster relief. They will choose a relief organization(s) to contribute to and advocate for aid in their families, school and community peer groups.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define philanthropy as individuals and organizations providing their time, talent, and/or treasures intended for the common good throughout history and around the world. Give examples.
      2. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
      4. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
      5. Benchmark MS.5 Identify the business, government, family, and civil society sectors.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Describe how different needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society, and family.
      2. Benchmark HS.1 Explain why needs are met in different ways by government, business, civil society and family.
      3. Benchmark MS.6 Identify significant contributions to society that come from the civil society sector.
    3. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark MS.1 State the purpose of a mission statement and describe how civil society organization mission statements relate to philanthropy.
    4. Standard DP 06. Role of Family in Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Compare and discuss the interaction of families, business, government, and the civil society sector in a democratic society.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Identify how subgroups and families in society demonstrate giving, volunteering, and civic involvement.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Give examples of how civil society sector giving by individuals and corporations can impact communities.
      2. Benchmark HS.7 Explain why the civil society sector rather than the government or private sectors address particular economic areas.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and describe how civil society sector organizations help people nationally and internationally.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Identify and research public or social issues in the community, nation or the world related to the common good. Form an opinion, and develop and present a persuasive argument using communication tools.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss a public policy issue affecting the common good and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
      3. Benchmark MS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
      4. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
      5. Benchmark HS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the community, state or nation, such as petitioning authority, advocating, voting, group problem solving, mock trials or classroom governance and elections.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
      2. Benchmark HS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      3. Benchmark HS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
    3. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Build a case for giving, explaining why resources (volunteers and money) are needed.
    4. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.