Introduction of the "We the People..." Project and Volunteer Survey

9, 10, 11, 12

To determine students' knowledge of opportunities for volunteerism in the community and the current level of student volunteer activities.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne Fifty-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • expand their knowledge of volunteer opportunities available in the community.
  • evaluate their involvement in volunteer activities.

Student Volunteerism Survey (Attachment One)

  • Ballot Box Choices Drying Up," Lansing State Journal.
  • Markstein, Gary. Cartoon "The Spirit of Volunteerism," Dearborn Press & Guide.
  • Stahler, Jeff. Cartoon "Volunteerism," The Cincinnati Post.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Ask students to predict and write down how many students in this class will say they volunteer their time or talent for some sort of activity in the community. Once students have written down their answers, ask those students who volunteer to raise their hands. Count them.

  2. Determine whether the predictions were close or way off the mark. Discuss why students were right or wrong.

  3. Explain to the class that they will take a survey that will determine the extent of their current volunteerism. Give students the Student Volunteerism Survey (see Attachment One) to complete. Collect the surveys. Ask the class to name as many volunteer organizations in the area that they know and compile the list on the chalkboard or paper. Discuss the answers provided by the survey (randomly and anonymously) to get an idea of student thoughts on the concept of volunteerism. Discuss whether "we the people" really take private action for common or public good?

  4. Break the class into teams of four. Two persons on each team should prepare arguments in favor of the idea that "Without volunteerism, life in this city would look very different from the way it does right now." The other two persons on the team should prepare arguments that defend the idea that "While volunteerism is a nice idea, life in this city would go on pretty much the way it has without volunteers." After preparing ideas to support their points of view, students should debate their topics in their small groups. Bring the class back together as a whole group and discuss the most compelling points made in the small groups.


Student discussion will indicate whether there has been a change in attitudes about volunteering.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Give examples of how civil society sector giving by individuals and corporations can impact communities.