Small Steps, Great Journeys

9, 10, 11, 12

Small personal actions can be first steps in a life of service and civic engagement. Voting and civic action are small examples of responsible citizenship. Advocating for what we value is a demonstration of a citizen's rights. 

PrintOne 55-Minute Session

The learners will:

  • identify "taking steps" to advocate for the improvement of society.
  • recognize that individuals who advocate for a cause to enhance the common good are philanthropists.

Write a poem about an issue you care about. Share it with others to advocate for taking action. 


  1. Anticipatory Set: Display these quotes:

    • "The longest journey starts with the first step." (Chinese proverb)
    • "That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” (Neil Armstrong)
  2. Discuss the meaning of these two quotes and examples where small steps started a journey to big things. For example, people in history made major social and environmental improvements (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malala, Jane Goodall). People taking action for the good of all are called philanthropists. They may use their money, time, talent, or voice to make change. Even these great people started with small first steps. 

  3. Ask what motivates people to want to step out and take action for the common good of others. A small step may include speaking up about bullying when no one else does or setting up a recycle bin. Maybe they saw a need and something they could do.

    Ask, "What needs do you see?" and "Why should you be the one to take the first step?"

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss civic virtue and its role in democracy.
      2. Benchmark HS.3 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibilities.
      3. Benchmark HS.8 Explain how a robust civil-society sector supports civil society.