Caring About Others

6, 7, 8

In this lesson, youth discuss the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and especially focus on his ethic of service.

PrintOne 30 Minute Session

The learner will:

  • define service.
  • recall impacts from the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his commitment to service.
Teacher Preparation 

Resources about Martin Luther King, Jr. and The Civil Rights Movement:

  • I Have a Dream: The Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr. 
  • The King Center: listen to the short audio recording of Dr. King's speech about service  "The Drum Major Instinct" 
  • Noble Peace Prize website, Biography of Dr. King
  • The History Channel
  • Learning to Give paper
  • service: to provide a community or organization with something that it needs
  • donate: to give or present something, especially to a charitable organization or other good cause


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who committed his life to service. Discuss some of his work and impact. Service can be described as giving time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good. People who give in this way are called philanthropists. Types of Service with examples for different issue areas.

  2. Group the young people to read from a variety of sources and prepare a summary about Dr. King, paying special attention to examples of his words about service.

  3. Ask each group to report to the others, summarizing the information they read and discussed.

    • How did Martin Luther King’s teachings influence others?
    • What can you learn from Dr. King’s example?
  4. Discuss this quote of Dr. King's and what it inspires each of us to do. “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” As a service, youth take action by sharing inspiring words about each person's power to take action. 

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 MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Discuss why some animals and humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Discuss examples of groups denied their rights in history.
    3. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Give an example of individual philanthropic action that influenced the nation's history.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Describe important events in the growth and maturation of the civil-society sector in the nation.
      3. Benchmark MS.5 Identify positive philanthropic historic acts or events that helped build the community, state, and nation.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.10 Identify reasons why historic figures acted for the common good.
      2. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.