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Life Skills/Pressing Issues


Helping Others – Volunteering – Service

Each One Matters * — Many people around the world and in our own communities don’t have enough to eat each  day. Students will consider the idea that we can strive to end a global hunger by taking small local steps. They are also reminded that while they may not be able to help everyone who is hungry, 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. In honor of Inconvenience Yourself Day, 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 - Random acts of kindness

Good Investing — When people make financial investments, they do so expecting to make a profit, but making an investment isn't always about money. Students consider that people can get rich by making wise financial investments, but people can also greatly enrich their lives by investing goodness in their homes, schools, and communities.
Key Idea: Goodness is an investment that never fails.
Character Traits: Caring - Generosity

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, happier, and less stressed out.
Character Traits: Helpfulness - Generosity - Kindness

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. They also consider the notion that when we help others, we give ourselves the gift of knowing that we have done something good and honorable.
Key Ideas: Helping others - Charitable giving - The privilege of giving
Character Traits: Respect - Generosity - Caring

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: Responsibility - Respect - Confidence - Caring

May I Help? — 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

Not from Without * — 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 - Self-absorption
Character Traits: Charity - Generosity - Responsibility - Caring
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well during Global and National Youth Service Days: April 20-22.

Power of Service to Others * — When we volunteer our time to help others, even in small ways, we can make a big difference in the world. Students take a look at the ways that they can use their personal power to bring joy to others in need. They also learn that in giving back to their community, they build a better life for themselves.
Key Idea: Volunteers ease the suffering in our world
Character Traits: Citizenship - Volunteerism - Caring
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well at the beginning of a new year.

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

Remembering the Holocaust * — This lesson was inspired by the now famous Paper Clips Project. Students will explore the consequences of injustice, prejudices and apathy, and consider how they as individuals can make a difference.
Key Ideas: Human rights - Making a Difference
Character Traits: Respect - Responsibility - Tolerance - Dignity
Note: This message and lesson plan is appropriate for any event that memorializes the Holocaust.

Safeguarding the Rights of Others * — It's been said that safeguarding the rights of others is both a noble and beautiful thing. With this plan students have the opportunity to explore how this concept plays out in their everyday lives.
Key Ideas: Human dignity - Bill of Rights - Freedom - Equal justice
Character Traits: Fairness - Respect - Tolerance
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Human Rights Day: Dec. 10.

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 Week - School climate
Character Traits: Kindness - Generosity - Empathy
Note: This message and lesson plan also work well for Random Acts of Kindness Week.

* 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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