With the holiday season comes the opportunity for a lesson in the gift of giving back. Students who give back see copious benefits. They learn about diversity and the struggles of others. They realize their individual actions can make a difference in people’s lives. And they pick up valuable life skills in organization, time management, cooperation and teamwork.
Educators seeking to teach the importance of giving back this holiday season may want to keep reading. Several opportunities and ways to give back are explored.
Ways to give back
- Take part in #GivingTuesday: Held the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving in November, #GivingTuesday is “a global day dedicated to giving back.” Whether your students are in kindergarten or college, they can get involved. Organize a school-wide giving day to benefit the fundraising efforts of your institution or one that’s near and dear to your hearts. Think penny wars, bake sales or gift-wrapping services. Or generate funds with a raffle for school logo’d apparel—jackets, sweats and hoodies make great raffle items.
- Hold a toy/book/coat drive: Are there groups that could benefit from your students’ gently used toys, books, winter coats or clothing? Consider organizing a school or classroom collection. Make it fun with incentives to participate—reward those who generate the most donations with a prize like a school logo’d beanie or scarf. Or reward top donors with the chance to throw a pie at their teacher or principal.
- Turn assignments into gifts: Writing assignments and artwork can be turned into thank you cards for first responders, military personnel and veterans. Or take your music lessons to the streets and carol at local hospitals and nursing homes. Provide school-logo’d candy canes to accompany this heartfelt gift.
- Adopt a family: According to the advocacy group Canada Without Poverty, more than half a million Canadian children live in poverty, and more than 20 percent of single moms struggle to raise their kids with incomes below the poverty level. Share the gift of giving back by adopting a family in need for the holidays. Find connections through local churches, shelters or your area’s Salvation Army®. Obtain their wish list and share with students, parents and faculty. Once the gifts are in, you may consider holding a school-wide wrapping day. Participants can experience the impact of their efforts and see firsthand the importance of giving back.
Consider showing students ways to give back—the lesson comes with valuable skills that will last a lifetime. And, it sure feels good, too.