Our Works Can Be Divine (Private-Religious)

6, 7, 8

It is obvious that our bodies require proper nutrition. It is less obvious that our souls and imaginations require sustenance as well. This lesson is intended as nutrition for the spirit. It is intended to demonstrate ways that people utilize their time, their talent and their treasure to improve the lives of others. These endeavors, often voluntary, are ones that fulfill the precept of loving one’s neighbor by providing for them what it is that we wish for ourselves.

PrintOne - Fifty Minute Class Period

Learners will:

  • describe the work of selected individuals in honoring the divinely-created humanity of others.
  • define the values inherent in the described efforts of identified people and organizations
  • detail and explain their personal commitment to support one of the programs.
  • Display Board or wall chart paper and markers.
  • Computers with Internet access or printouts of information about organizations profiled in Attachment One: Our Works Can Be Divine: Some Stories
  • Learner copies of Attachment One: Our Works Can Be Divine: Some Stories
  • Learner copies of Attachment Two: Our Works Can Be Divine: Doing Divine Work


  1. Anticipatory Set:Write the word TOLERANCE on the display board or wall chart paper. Ask each learner to contribute to a working collective definition of tolerance, by sharing what it might look like in “real life”. Record their responses as they are being shared. The following questions can be used to provide prompts to initiate learner responses, i.e. What does it look like on the school bus or in the lunchroom or on the ball field? What does it look like in the classroom with students with varied needs and backgrounds? What does it look like when you are approached by a beggar or a person who seems to be behaving unusually?


  2. Following the allotted time for this activity, pointing to the recorded responses, engage the learners in a whole class discussion centered around the question: “If we truly are tolerant of other people, what does that mean we have to do?” or “If you consider yourself a tolerant person, what do you do to demonstrate it?”

  3. Share with the learners that it can be very helpful to watch and learn from those “who have been there and are doing that”. Tell students that the activity of this lesson is to learn from people who have found amazing ways of demonstrating the highest form of tolerance – considering people with empathy and dignity.

  4. Distribute a copy of Attachment One: Our Works Can Be Divine: Some Stories to each learner and assign one of the organizations listed there to each student (or small group of students) asking them to develop a value(s) statement(s) related to their organization-- how those involved in the organization demonstrate the dignity with which we would want to be treated.Teacher Note: It is important that as many of the listed organization be “researched” and reported on as possible in order to provide a broader awareness of the existence of such organizations.

  5. Following the “research” of the chosen or assigned organizations and the written completion of the values statements, have those who “researched” and responded to the same organization share their writings.Teacher Note: The value statements might be duplicative, which is alright, but they should emphasize the ethical treatment of others, based upon fulfilling the emotional and physical needs of others in ways that are tolerant and empathic.

  6. Those not involved in the actual “research” of the particular organization being presented, should utilize the Attachment One: Our Works Can Be Divine: Some Stories to take notes so that upon completion of this portion of the activity, each learner has some understanding of each organization.

  7. Distribute Attachment Two: Our Works Can Be Divine: Doing Divine Work andtell the learners that they have now all heard and made notes concerning each of the organizations that appear on Attachment One: Our Works Can Be Divine: Some StoriesTell the learners that their homework is to select one of the organizations (it does not need to be the same one on for which they did original “research” and report) and respond to the questions found on Attachment Two: Our Works Can Be Divine: Doing Divine Work

  8. Identify and share a completion date for this assignment at which time each learner will be required to briefly share their selected organization and response to the question - What will you do and how will you do it? - followed by a question-and-answer whole group reflection.

  9. Optional - Assign a time frame in which the learners are to implement theirproposed plans (See AttachmentTwo, last question)and report back to the class on the results of their implementation.


Learner involvement in total and small group discussions, the depth of thought and understanding evidenced in the learner’s responses to Attachment Two: Our Works Can Be Divine: Doing Divine Work and the manner and seriousness in which the learner presents his/her homework assignment, will form the basis for assessment in this lesson.

Cross Curriculum 

Optional - as identified in Extensions below.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how individuals have helped others.
    2. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. 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.3 Describe how a specific civil society organization in the community operates.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Describe the characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
    3. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Give examples of how civil-society-sector giving can impact communities.
    4. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Identify and describe how regional civil society organizations help the people in the region.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Identify and describe the actions of how citizens act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
      3. Benchmark MS.9 Identify pro-social behavior in different cultures and traditions.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 04. Raising Private Resources
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Develop a service plan.
    2. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify outcomes from the service.