Goodness in Everyday Acts
Youth Activity: Participants will gain a greater understanding of the meaning of philanthropy, and identify at least one action that they can take to better their own community. They will investigate the strength of the human spirit and its importance in making the world better. See the handout for supplemental faith-based discussion questions. Religious perspective attached.
“I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.” ~ Anne Frank (1930-1944)
The youth will:
- understand the concept of philanthropy and recognize it in everyday situations.
- discover how the human spirit is fundamental to making the world and sometimes just everyday situations better, and to identify what they may possess in themselves related to the topic.
- list three philanthropic activities occurring in their home, neighborhood, community, school and/or in the world.
- identify at least one act they might do to make their community a better place to live.
- Chart Paper
- Pens or pencils
- Index cards
- Masking tape
- A watch or timer
- What are some ways we can recognize philanthropy when we see it?
- How did Anne Frank perform philanthropic acts that benefited the world?
- How many other people, famous or not, have sacrificed for the good of others and their community?
- How have you demonstrated “everyday acts of goodness” in your daily lives? Why is this important?
- Who are some of the people that you look up to for some of the reasons we discussed today?
- What do you think might have helped Anne Frank to remain positive? What helps people be strong when facing such hard times?
- What very simple everyday philanthropic acts can you do to make your community, school, organization and our world better?
- Why is it important for you to recognize the good in the world and to guide others in this realization?
During WWII, the young and brave Anne Frank was forced into hiding by the Nazis two weeks before her 13th birthday. Her father had given her a diary for her birthday that she kept for almost two years as she and seven others hid in an attic. Her tremendous spirit and acts of goodness kept them strong under a great deal of hardship until they were finally captured and taken to concentration camps.
Explain that during her short life Anne Frank made a big impact on the world by recording her daily experiences in her famous diary, The Diary of a Young Girl. In spite of tremendous hardship and persecution, she was able to believe in the goodness of the human spirit.
The facilitator will further explore with the participants how they might see acts of goodness and kindness, which are “philanthropic acts” in their everyday lives. This will help them to become more aware of the philanthropic acts that happen around them and to recognize the importance of the goodness of the human spirit.
Write the words “Philanthropy” and “Goodness” on chart paper, then ask the group what these words mean to them and how the two are related. Allow the participants time to respond, and record their ideas on the chart paper so they can clearly view them.
Divide the group into teams by going around the room and having each individual call out the words: “philanthropy,” “goodness," “human,” and “spirit”. You will now have four groups: the “philanthropy group,” the ”goodness group,” the “human group,” and the “spirit group”. (This will reinforce the key concepts.)
Ask the groups to place themselves around the room according to their group names and instruct them to find a corner in which to work.
Give each group a piece of chart paper and several markers. Assign each group one of the following four words and have them write it in big letters in the middle of their flip chart paper. The words they can choose from are: household, school, youth, and community or world.
Each team will work with their assigned word similar to a crossword puzzle, using words that represent acts of goodness, philanthropy, caring, positive spirit, etc. They will build on one letter at a time, broadening up and out with each word connected by a common letter. (You may want to draw an example of a crossword puzzle diagram on the chart paper using another word to show them what their final products might look like). All of the participants in each group should be encouraged to participate. Give each group 10 minutes to come up with as many words as they can.
Post the definition of philanthropy (see top of this activity sheet) in a visible place so they can refer to it as they participate in the activity.
The team to build the largest puzzle (number of words) will show their puzzle first and start the sharing by giving some examples.
Remind them that the competition was for fun and to increase awareness and that they are all winners for doing a great job of developing their lists and learning about the importance of helping others through everyday acts.
Variation: Pair participants in groups of two and give each pair a marker and index cards and instruct them to choose one of the following words to write on the top of the card: “school,” “household,” “community,” and “world.” Give them each 5 minutes to list as many single words or thoughts related to their topic as possible. After the 5 minutes has passed, form the group into a circle in the middle of the room.
- Ask for a volunteer to get in the middle of the circle.
- The person in the middle loudly calls out one of the words or thoughts they identified and the first person to come up with a way this is practiced in everyday life exchanges places with the person in the middle.
- Then they call out a word from their index card and the game proceeds in this way.
- Once you have been in the middle you cannot be in the middle again until all have had a chance.
Literature Extension: As a group, over a period of time, read Anne Frank’s book, discuss it, and make mobiles using hangers, yarn and pictures from magazines and/or hand-drawn to represent the book.