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Life Skills/Pressing Issues


Helping Others – Volunteering – Service

Each One Matters * — Most students are blessed to have food to eat each day. World Food Day is a time to think about what it's like never to have enough food and to remember those who are hungry every day. Mother Teresa's words remind students that they may not be able to feed a hundred people, but they can help feed one.
Key Idea: Helping the hungry
Character Traits: Responsibility - Compassion
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for World Food Day: October 16.

Going to the Trouble * — Being a person with strong character means being a person who goes to the trouble of doing what's right instead of doing what's easy, and that's not always convenient. Students are encouraged to take time to step outside of themselves and commit a random act of kindness by doing something special for someone else.
Key Ideas: Going to the trouble of being a person with character - Thinking of others
Character Traits: Respect - Responsibility - Honesty - Kindness - Courtesy - Caring - Empathy
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for National Inconvenience Yourself Day.

Good Sticks Like Glue — The good we do in the world is never lost. It sticks to the hearts of others. There are many things we can lose. We can lose our pencils and keys. We can lose our money and books. But one thing we never lose is the goodness we give away. All the good things we do for others will stick to their hearts forever.
Key Ideas: The good one does is never lost. - Small acts of goodness make a difference.
Character Traits: Respect - Caring - Goodness

A Heart for Animals — Sometimes it seems hard to imagine that one person can make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected animals. However, caring young people can help in many ways. Students take a look at ways to help homeless, abused, and neglected animals and consider how caring for animals is one way they can learn to be a caring and responsible person.
Key Ideas: Showing kindness toward animals - Helping abused or neglected animals
Character Traits: Compassion - Responsibility

Helper's High — Research indicates there are real health and emotional benefits when we are generous with our time, energy, and money. The brain actually produces "feel good" chemicals which then create what's called a "helper's high." Students explore the idea that giving can be as good for the giver as it is for the receiver.
Key Idea: Research shows that when we help others we are healthier and happier.
Character Traits: Helpfulness - Generosity - Kindness

Helpful and Happy * — What would the world look like if people were concerned only with themselves? Volunteer work gets us out of ourselves and into the needs of others. Students consider the cost of self-absorption and of expecting the outside world to make them happy, and then explore the benefits of serving others.
Key Ideas: Volunteering - Service projects - Unselfishness
Character Traits: Charity - Generosity - Responsibility - Caring
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Global and National Youth Service Days.

Helpful Hands * — Volunteers are essential to our homes, schools, communities, and nation. Without their help there would be much less love and joy in our world. In this message and lesson plan, students are encouraged to offer their own hands to help others in need. Each student will consider the idea that by helping others they are becoming a better person and making a real difference in the lives of others.
Key Idea: Volunteering helps us become better people
Character Traits: Citizenship - Volunteerism - Caring
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well at the beginning of a new year.

Helping: A Winning Tradition * — Americans are some of the most generous people in the world. Students take a look at the great American tradition of giving to those in need, and consider ways they can carry on this tradition.
Key Ideas: True success can be measured by how much we help others - Charitable giving
Character Traits: Respect - Generosity - Caring
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Red Cross Month: March.

I'll Volunteer! — Mahatma Gandhi once said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." Serving others can build self-respect, self-confidence, and self-awareness. Students will consider the notion that through serving others they can learn more about themselves, their personal power, and their unique gifts and talents.
Key Ideas: Volunteerism - Citizenship - Increased self-awareness
Character Traits: Respect - Caring - Love

May I Help You? — Imagine a world where human beings weren't serving each other in big ways and small ways each and every day. Serving others is the way we give back to our families, schools, communities and our nation for all the help and support we have received. Students consider that great human beings are helpful human beings.
Key Ideas: Asking an essential question: What am I doing for others? - Volunteering
Character Traits: Helpfulness - Service to others - Self-reflection

Practicing Compassion — Students consider the role of compassion and how each of us can promote more compassionate behaviors. Whether it is by our own personal actions or by supporting the efforts of those striving to encourage compassion, we can make the world a better place when we understand that everyone benefits from compassionate behaviors.
Key Ideas: When we act compassionately, we help others and we help ourselves - Some media literacy
Character Traits: Compassion - Respect - Caring - Empathy

That's So Random * — Kindness benefits the one who receives the act of kindness, but it also benefits the one who acts with kindness. Students are challenged to put kindness into action.
Key Ideas: Random Acts of Kindness - School climate
Character Traits: Kindness - Caring - Empathy
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Random Acts of Kindness Week.

Winning Hearts * — This message and plan are written to honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jan. 27, but do not directly discuss the horrors of the Holocaust, which would be inappropriate for this age group. Materials focus instead on the unfairness of treating others unkindly because of differences. Students explore how fairness and kindness create more peace in our homes, schools, and communities.
Key Ideas: Hurtful teasing - Unfairness - Creating more peace in our homes, schools, and communities
Character Traits: Respect - Kindness - Fairness
Note: This message and lesson plan is appropriate for any event that memorializes the Holocaust.

* Materials with an asterisk (*) relate to Helping Others, Volunteering and Service and are also related to a calendar event. These same materials can also be found under Calendar Events.

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