Advocate for a Home

6, 7, 8

The students gain a background understanding of Habitat for Humanity as both a global and local organization. As advocates, they raise awareness of the issue of poverty and affordable housing in their community.

PrintSix 45-Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • research facts about poverty, homelessness, and Habitat for Humanity in their community.
  • gather information from a presentation by the executive director of the local Habitat affiliate (or a Habitat home owner or volunteer).
  • develop an advertising campaign for the local Habitat ReStore.

Student access to Internet

Teacher Preparation 
  • About a week prior to this lesson, students should register for the lessons online. These courses will give them a foundational understanding of Habitat as an organization, how and why it was founded, and what its mission is. You will need to give them at least a week to register and complete the lessons because it takes several days for the registration to go through. If you prefer, you could go through those courses together as a class using a projector. That would add a day to this lesson.
  • For Day Three, invite the executive director from your local Habitat affiliate, a Habitat volunteer and/or a Habitat home owner to speak to your class about the Habitat program. To find your local affiliate, do a search from the homepage. If he/she is unavailable, invite a family that has received a Habitat home.

advocacy: the act or process of writing or speaking in favor of, or supporting, a cause

audience: the people for whom you are writing

purpose: the reason for creating something

public service: (n) to perform a deed that contributes to the general welfare of all

Public Service Announcement (PSA): (n) a message or announcement to inform or educate the public

self-sufficiency: (n) ability to care for self independently

sweat equity: Habitat's name for the labor that Habitat homeowners expend in building their houses and the houses of their neighbors, as well as the time they spend investing in their own self-improvement (

Home Connection 

Students create an account with They then register for HL BEG The Beginnings of Habitat and Vision and Mission of Habitat for Humanity. Students can complete these online courses (about 20 minutes each) to gain an understanding of Habitat as an organization. If internet access is an issue, this could be done as an in class activity using a projector.


Ask students to meet in pairs or small groups to discuss what makes an effective PSA to encourage people to take action for the common good. They can reflect on the following questions: What motivates people to help others? What do people want to know before they give their time or money? What feelings should be evoked?


HabitatLearns -

Habitat for Humanity - (Several pages come from this site)

PSA Research Center -

ReadWriteThink - (Several pages come from this site)

Go! Animate -



  1. Note: Students should have completed the lessons online. See Teacher Preparation. These courses will give them a foundational understanding of Habitat as an organization. If you prefer, you could go through those courses together as a class using a projector. That would add a day to this lesson.

    Days One and Two

    Anticipatory Set

    Ask students to do a "quick write" explaining whether they feel poverty and homelessnessare problems in their community. They should support their argument with examples.

  2. As a class, brainstorm a list of questions to research about poverty and homelessness in their community.

  3. Allow students to select groups. Assign the brainstormed questions to the groups to research the answers. This may take this class period plus an additional class period, or it may be finished as homework.

  4. Tell the students that there will be a guest from Habitat for Humanity coming to the class who will be available to answer questions. Have them keep that in mind as they research so they may jot down some questions for the guest.

  5. Day Three--Day of the Guest Speaker

  6. Introduce to your class the guest you have invited to speak about the Habitat for Humanity program. This may be the executive director from your local Habitat affiliate or a family that has received a Habitat home or a volunteer. See Teacher Preparation.

  7. After the speaker gives a general presentation about Habitat in your community, encourage the students to ask questions.

  8. Day Four to Six:

    Anticipatory Set:

    Show one of these examples of an effective Public Service Announcement (PSA): Ask the students why this PSA is effective.

  9. Discuss the elements of a good Public Service Announcement (PSA): 30 seconds, clear message, visuals, emotional impact, clear follow-up action steps for listener/viewer.

  10. Define advocacy, and tell the students that when they advocate for Habitat, they spread the word about its services and help people who are homeless.

  11. Tell the students that video is a medium they could use to advocate for and/or inform the community about the services offered by Habitat for Humanity. Brainstorm what they still need to know and do in order to create a PSA for Habitat for Humanity. Discuss who their audience will be and what they want their audience to do after viewing/listening to the PSA.You may assign different audiences or focus to the groups.

  12. Allow students to self-select into collaborative teams and create PSA scripts to promote Habitat for Humanity or the Habitat ReStore. Tell them to keep in mind their audience, tone, and purpose as they plan and create their PSA.

  13. Work with the students to create a rubric for this project, or see for a PSA rubric guideline.

  14. For a helpful graphic organizer, click here:

  15. If you have student access to the internet, students can use to create the PSAs.

  16. Each group presents its PSA at the end of Day Six.

  17. Have a class discussion identifying the things they liked about the PSAs and how they could be improved. Encourage students to improve their PSAs based on the feedback.

  18. They may share the completed videos using social media.


Completion of the lessons PSAs are evaluated using a student-generated rubric. You could also use an already prepared rubric such as

Cross Curriculum 

Students create an awareness campaign for Habitat for Humanity and/or the ReStore. This can take many forms. Students could choose to create "commercials" for the ReStore and present them to the affiliate for use, facilitate a Welcome Home Housing Simulation, create morning announcements, or host a cardboard city event. Many of these ideas are discussed in more detail on the Habitat website ( If there is not a Habitat ReStore in your area, there may be an alternative resource with a similar mission.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. 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 03. Philanthropy and Economics
      1. Benchmark MS.13 Describe how philanthropy can reallocate limited resources to meet human needs.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Locate and map civil society organizations in the community.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.5 Describe the responsibility students have to act in the civil society sector to improve the common good.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
    3. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      2. Benchmark MS.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      3. Benchmark MS.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.