Service Learning Project

3, 4, 5

Using the plays from the previous lesson as a jumpstart, youth carry out a plan to share time and talent in the community.  They may help at a local food pantry or donation center.  After the visit, they reflect on the impact of their contribution to the community and themselves. 

Note: Prior to this lesson, make arrangements with a local food pantry, donation center, or Red Cross, or contact your local Volunteer Center to arange to visit a a site as volunteers.  Make sure young people can actually help with the work.

PrintOne Fifty-Minute Session plus time for a field trip

Participate in a service-learning project, such as helping in a food pantry or donation center.

  • drivers and chaperones, if  needed
  • permission slips
  • writing materials
  • donated items 
Home Connection 

The writing assignment may be completed as homework.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Based on the group's passion for service, facilitate a discussion about steps to address an issue they care about. For example, if they have a heart for kids who aren't sure where their next meal will come from, talk about how to take small steps (like throwing one starfish into the sea) toward making a difference. Lead the discussion to identify a nonprofit organization that addresses the need, such as matching donors with recipients of food, clothing, and household items.

  2. In their plays, the groups explored the idea of helping others in the community. Ask them to recall some of the philanthropic acts they demonstrated and how they felt about those acts. Tell them that on the scheduled date they will have an opportunity to actively donate time and talent for the common good of the community. Explain the history and goals of the organization you are visiting. If possible, show pictures and brochures. Talk about how the nonprofit organization gets the money and materials to run the operation.

  3. As a form of pre-service reflection, lead sensitivity training in preparation for the field trip experience. Help participants understand the needs of the people who benefit from the services at the site. Through role-playing, teach them how to behave and be respectful of people and materials during the experience.

  4. On the day of the visit to the nonprofit where youth will learn and do service, participants and chaperones should dress appropriately for work but clean and neat. While there, a respresentative can talk about their purpose, work, funding, and how the nonprofit organization benefits the common good.

  5. When the meets again after the service, discuss the experience. Listen to participants' reactions to the experience of helping, making a difference, and asking what else they could do.

  6. Participants write about the experience as a reflection. The writing should describe the events in factual detail, but also their feelings and reactions. They should write about the benefits of philanthropy to the volunteers and the recipients. These expectations (along with writing mechanic expectations) can be listed on a rubric to guide expectations.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 02. Roles of Government, Business, and Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.6 Explain why acting philanthropically is good for the community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark E.2 Name an example of a civil society charitable organization.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.2 Identify and describe how civil society organizations help the community.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.1 Provide a needed service.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.
      3. Benchmark E.6 Describe the procedures and the importance of sensitivity to the people with whom students are working.
    3. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.