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Building a Philanthropic Spirit With Your Students

Some of the most engaging lessons or events I have done with my students have included philanthropic activities. Adding a charitable aspect to your classroom can strike emotions within your students and really engage them in the process of learning or getting involved with their school. Including the community, charitable organizations, or social issues can put a sense of relevancy behind the learning. Here are a few examples of ways to help build a philanthropic spirit with your students.

Creating an Entertainment Broadcast

A fun project I did with my marketing classes involved creating a 15 to 20 minute entertainment broadcast, which we uploaded to Youtube. We did this project in conjunction with an organization called Reach and Teach. Students went through weeks of lessons that included goal setting, finding a target market, budgeting, promotions, and selling advertisements. We sold actual sponsorships and advertising for the four segments in our broadcast. The students sold $425 in advertising and sponsorships and voted to donate the money to a local charity, Black Pine Animal Sanctuary. It was more than just a classroom assignment for the students. They knew the more advertising they sold, the more money they would be able to donate, and they didn't want to disappoint! Plus, knowing this entertainment broadcast was going on Youtube for the public to see encouraged the students to put quality effort into their work so they wouldn’t embarrass themselves! You can check out their video here.

Design and Market T-Shirts

Another marketing project I have done was a t-shirt project called Wardrobe Wars. I divided

students into different groups. They did market research, goals and product development of their own t-shirts. We teamed up with a local printer and the students had to market and sell the shirts they designed. The team that sold the most shirts, got to pick a local charity to donate the profits made from all the groups.

Social Issue Podcast

One activity I have not yet incorporated into my classroom, but would really like to try is a social issue podcast. I would put the students into groups and have them come up with a social issue to research. Their job would be to create a podcast on that issue. They would need to find an organization within the community that worked with this issue and interview one of their members for the podcast. The students would then find businesses that would like to purchase commercials during the podcast. The students would write these advertisements and embed them into their recording. The advertisement money would then be donated to a charity that helps the social issue the students chose for their podcast.

Financial Literacy Month Coloring Pages

My Personal Finance and Investments students worked on a project for Financial Literacy Month (April). Students designed coloring pages with easy to understand personal finance information embedded. These pages will be distributed to the elementary schools to incorporate with younger grade levels to help promote financial literacy early in life.

Homecoming for a Cause

We did something a little different this year for homecoming. During the entire homecoming week, as a school, we were raising money. Our homecoming nominees each picked a local charity they wanted to represent. At the end of the week, the students chosen king and queen got to present a check for half of the money raised that week to their chosen charity. This meant when the entire school body was voting for king and queen, they were not just voting for their favorite seniors, they were voting for the charity they represented. This helped to change the focus of homecoming from a popularity contest to the students getting a voice in helping the community. Some of the activities we did during the week to raise money included hat day, a homeroom trivia contest, selling homecoming shirts, and a dunk tank at the annual powder puff game and bonfire. At the end of the week, the student body collected $3,636 allowing our King and queen to each donate $1,818 to the charity they represented.

Reverse Trick or Treat

My Student Government co-sponsor and I had a goal of getting our high school students council members more involved with the elementary schools in our district. We came up with the idea of doing a reverse trick or treat. Each Friday in the month of October, we would visit one of the four elementary schools in our district. Our students would dress up in costumes and deliver candy to every student in that school. It was a big hit and did a great job of bonding the younger and older students.

Empathy is a skill we can all work on. Creating these projects that incorporate philanthropy can build empathy and a desire to help others. We are helping to build our future community leaders; why not build them to have a heart for our community?

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