Neighbors Helping Neighbors

9, 10, 11, 12

In this second lesson about Jane Addams, we learn about the impact of her philanthropic work and connect it to the needs of our communities today. Young people discuss voluntary actions they can take inspired by Jane Addams.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session
  • Identify current community needs and ways that voluntarism can serve the common good.
  • Jane Addams Chronology handout
  • Hull House Firsts handout
  • Addams, Jane. Twenty Years at Hull-House. New York: MacMillan, 1910.
  • Ellis, Susan J., and Katherine H. Noyes. By the People: A History of Americans as Volunteers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1990.
  • Felder, Deborah G. The 100 Most Influential Women of All Time: A Ranking Past and Present. New York: Citadel, 1996.
  • Kerber, Linda K., and Jane Sherron De Hart. Women's America: Refocusing the Past, 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Marlow, Joan. The Great Women. New York: Galahad Books, 1979.
  • Munro, Petra. "Educators as Activists: Five Women from Chicago," Social Education, 59 (5), 274-278.
  • Weinberg, Arthur, and Lila Weinberg. Some Dissenting Voices: The Story of Six American Dissenters. New York: The World Publishing Company, 1970.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    We learned in the first lesson about Jane Addams and her work at the Hull House. Today we are going to learn about her lifetime achievements and how she influenced volunteer work today. It may inspire us to take action. 

  2. Display the two handouts and look for the influence of Jane Addams beyond her lifetime. For example, she organized the Women's Peace Party and served as the First Vice President of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Note that some of the "firsts" shown on the Hull House list occurred many years after the death of Jane Addams. What does this tell us about the endurance of Hull House (which continued to operate for 122 years)?

    Discuss how the different accomplishments are examples of philanthropy (giving time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good).

  3. Working in small groups, the youth make lists of areas needing improvement in their own community today (related to the items in the handouts). They may look up on the Internet what efforts are currently in place to address those needs.

    Come back together to discuss what they found, and ask them to suggest ways to take voluntary action to address the current needs. They may find one small next action they can take. 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.3 Give examples of human interdependence and explain why group formation is one strategy for survival.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Describe civil society advocacy organizations and their relationship to human rights.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.7 Identify and give examples of the important roles women and minorities have played in the civil society sector in history.
    3. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.9 Analyze a major social issue as a "commons problem" and suggest ways the civil society sector could help to resolve it.
    4. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark HS.5 Identify and discuss civil society sector organizations working to build community/social capital and civil society resources.
    5. Standard PCS 06. Philanthropy in History
      1. Benchmark HS.5 Identify positive philanthropic historic acts or events that helped build the community, state, and nation.