Learning to Give, Philanthropy education resources that teach giving and civic engagement

Treasure of Community Service (A)
Lesson 4
Academic Standards
Philanthropy Framework


The lesson purpose is to have learners identify individual, family, peer and community needs through collecting, analyzing and evaluating data. The class will produce a community needs map based on their group evaluations and align it to a list of community service sites and locations. They will be asked to select and volunteer at one of the designated sites based on their survey results.


Three Forty-Five to Fifty Minute Class Periods
(A minimum of one and maximum of three forty-minute on-site Service-Learning Volunteer activity.)


    The learner will:
  • identify the primary community needs by exploring the needs as identified by compiling his/her data on student, class and community needs.
  • select a service-learning site using the list of needs and coordinated sites addressing the identified community need to volunteer of his/her time and talent.
  • engage in on-going reflection through journals or daily logs, scrapbooks, essays, drawings, tapes, videos on his/her values, learning and behaviors during the lesson, service activities and final completion of the service activity.

Service Experience:

Although this lesson contains a service project example, decisions about service plans and implementation should be made by students, as age appropriate.
Learn more about the stages of service-learning.

Learners will select a community site to volunteer of their time and talent as a result of identifying a community need through their surveys. (Teachers should contact are nonprofits well in advance to discover what opportunities may be available for the student.)


  • Computer with Web access
  • Uncle Jed's Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell
  • Box or other cardboard/paper container
  • Posterboard, overhead projection paper or white paper
  • Markers
  • Yellow pages
  • Prizes/Stickers
  • Tape

Additional Instructor Materials

  • School or District permission form for outside school activity
  • Certificates of appreciation/participation to be awarded after the completion of the service activity

Instructional Procedure(s):

    Anticipatory Set:


    For the introduction to this lesson each student should be provided with a sheet of paper. Ask learners to write about one challenge that their family has endured and one experience that has brought their family greater joy. (Be sure to caution the students to write about something that they know their families would not mind them sharing with classmates.) When everyone is done writing, ask learners to pick a partner with whom to share these experiences. Provide approximately ten minutes for this activity.

    Explain to the students that they are about to read a "children's book" for the effective way it deals with values and prejudice in a community. Tell them that the innocence of literature directed at young children can be used to clarify issues. They will be listening to this story for its message and content. Ask them to recall books they read as young children that "taught" them important concepts like sharing or understanding of others. Read Uncle Jed's Barber Shop written by Margaree King Mitchell. Lead a classroom discussion that focuses on Jed's sacrifices made in good times and in bad. Focus on how the family deals with hard times without becoming cynical and disconnected to their community.


  • A large chest or box symbolizing a community treasure chest will be brought into the classroom for the second day of this lesson. Ask learners to individually brainstorm an artifact, object, or picture that symbolizes a family's or extended family's community need. With the time remaining in this first lesson, learners should write a brief description of this artifact. They should address what the artifact symbolizes and what community need or service it represents. They can take this written portion home and bring it back with the artifact for the second lesson.
  • Day Two: Begin the class by allowing the learners to place their artifacts in the chest anonymously. Learners will come up one at a time and pick an item from the chest. They will read the item's description out loud. Select a student to list on the board the artifacts pulled from the chest. When all items have been listed ask the class to categorize the artifacts into groups according to common community needs. In groups of four, have the learners generate a "Neighborhood Needs Diagram or Map."
  • The remainder of the class period will be spent having the groups research different sources to find at least one community volunteer site that deals with each community need. Sources to research could include Web sites, the yellow pages, county service agencies, and religious organizations.
  • Instructor's Notes: Helpful Web sites for community service agencies or service clubs are:

    www.guidestar.com Search engine for foundations
    www.learningtogive.org County-based community agencies (Michigan), click on Resource Room, then Michigan Map of Resources
    www.cns.gov Corporation for National Service
    www.unitedway.org National United Way

    The zip code search is also helpful.
    Instructor may also provide one copy per group of the local yellow pages. Additionally, the local Chamber of Commerce or Junior Chamber of Commerce will provide service opportunities.

  • Day Three: Each group will be given a poster-board to map out the community service organizations they discovered through their research. One member from each group will present to the class their "Community Asset Poster." The posters will be displayed in the room so that they are visible for one of the reflection activities.
  • To reinforce concepts, a classroom game is played in which the instructor explains a community need and learners are asked to place a sticker on the poster next to the appropriate community site that would best service this need.
  • To end this lesson, learners will write a reflective essay that addresses the following topics: "Reflect back to your own personal values/value systems. Did your values change as a result of the classroom discussions? How are your values reflected in the community at large?" Finally, rank in order of preference the service or service organizations for which you would most like to be a volunteer worker, explaining how you could contribute.


  • Group Work
  • Group Discussion
  • On-going reflection prior to final reflection essay. Learners must demonstrate the ability to use a minimum of two differing tools of reflection.
  • Reflective Essay
  • Game
  • Class Discussion
  • Letter to Parent/Guardian

School/Home Connection:

The learner composes a letter to the parent/guardian asking them to participate with them in their service activity or explaining the service activity and the goals of the activity. See Extension.

Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

  • Have learners research global service Web sites such as the Red Cross, UNESCO, and the United States Peace Corps.
  • Have parents volunteer with the learners at the selected volunteer site. Suggestions for parental involvement:
Chaperoning at service site
Assist making a road map of service sites
Donating the use of "Yellow Pages"
  • Develop a classroom "Yellow Pages" of community service sites.
  • Have learners register with the National Service Learning Exchange.
  • Learners can track their success using a video or a scrapbook and this can be used to show new learners volunteer efforts within the community.

Bibliographical References:

Mitchell, Margaree King. Uncle Jed's Barber Shop. Aladdin Paperbacks, 1998. ISBN: 0689819137

Lesson Developed By:

Katherine Mehney
Utica Community Schools
Eisenhower High School
Oxford, MI 48371

Melissa Minton
Utica Community Schools
Eisenhower High School
Oxford, MI 48371


Philanthropy Framework:

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Unit Contents:

Overview:Your Place in the Community Summary


Your Place in the Community
Developing a Sense of Self
Valuable Data?
Treasure of Community Service (A)

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