Whether a child chooses to help their neighbor with yard work or collect cans for a food bank, such early moments of kindness can empower a child to say, “I am a philanthropist” for the first time and foster a lifelong sense of responsibility to the common good. Teachers at all levels have the unique opportunity to infuse their lessons with philanthropy education and inspire young minds. Learning to Give, a nonprofit organization that equips K-12 teachers to educate students as philanthropists, aligns seamlessly with the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership’s mission. “As our city continues to grow, civic responsibility becomes even more important. Learning to Give is an easy way to let our young citizens develop a common understanding of philanthropy and how they can have an impact on their communities,” explains Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Director Angela Seaworth. The organization offers a collection of 1,700 K-12 service-learning lessons and hundreds of supporting resources online, all for free. The online materials provide an effective way of fostering learning about civic engagement through the larger curriculum, everyday lesson plans and student-community activities. Seaworth, who serves on the national board of directors for Learning to Give, initiated a partnership between the two. On Thursday, April 16, representatives from several local public and private schools gathered to hear about how the organization’s resources could benefit their school districts and individual teachers. Houston teachers, who are often looking for creative ways to meet state standards, are able to take advantage of this tool immediately. Because Learning to Give materials have been created by teachers and undergo rigorous review, teachers who have utilized them are enthusiastic about how they center around real-world issues and teach students to ask questions, evaluate facts, propose solutions and take action. One teacher commented, “Learning to Give lessons are at the very heart of what we are trying to create: responsible, active citizens!” Through the curriculum, middle school students have written and performed skits of the Bill of Rights, and eleventh graders have explored examples of social justice in young adult fiction and then volunteered at a related local agency. A successful Houston, in 2035, will depend on a strong nonprofit sector. It is wise to prepare the next generation who will work together to support our city. Through partnerships with organizations such as Learning to Give, the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership seeks to ensure that the our youngest citizens will be learning about philanthropy for years to come.
Kim Espinosa, Marketing Specialist