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Service and Leadership within the Context of Poverty


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Three-week curriculum designed for use in a STEM middle school, this course helps introduce students to concepts surrounding responsible service and leadership within the realm of poverty alleviation and community outreach.

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Service and Leadership within the Context of Poverty

  1. 1. Created for S.T.E.M. school use Summer 2013
  2. 2. • 4 days of Lecture/Exercise/Discussion/Reflection • 1 day of Planning/Application • Each day of Lecture/Exercise/Discussion will focus on a different Big Idea that will be first presented and explained in lecture format, then expounded upon through one or more exercises which may include group work, demonstrations, videos/media clips, etc., followed by guided discussion time, and closed with a time for students to record reflections, on what they have learned, in journals. • Each Planning/Application day will consist of students being presented with various case studies and planning appropriate responses, presenting responses to the class, and opportunity to carry out decided upon response.
  3. 3. • Day 1 Big Idea: Poverty Has an Emotional Context • What is Poverty? How can you tell if someone is poor? • Present these questions to class and have students brainstorm responses and then share them with the class. • Look at list of answers for What is Poverty (usually lots of lack of stuff responses). Ask students how being in those situations might make them feel. • Look at list of answers for How can you tell if someone is poor? (usually lots of negative judgments like dirty, old clothes, etc.) ask how they would feel if people thought that way about them or someone they cared about. • Show clips from Hear Our Voices: The Poor on Poverty • Have kids take notes on what words did the poor use to describe poverty, share responses • Journal Reflection writing time
  4. 4. • Show/Review clips from Hear Our Voices. Ask how the poor described how others treated them. • Group Exercise: Present three different scenarios (each of these consist of real situations experienced in volunteer work) each with an option A and B. These will be set out in different stations that students will move through in groups and record their responses in their journals to be shared with the class. At each station, students will examine the materials and discuss/record how each option would make them feel if they were receiving it and why. • Scenario 1: Food Baskets- Basket A is a plastic sack containing moldy bread, expired can goods, and obscure food items that don’t go together. Basket B is a plastic laundry basket filled with food items that make complete meals, include recognizable brands, added toiletry or laundry care items, includes a card with personalized message, and is tied with a ribbon • Scenario 2: Clothing Donations- Items in Pile A are extremely out of date, have rips, holes, stains, and include non-matching shoes. Items in Pile B include clothes that are currently in fashion, clean, in good condition, and feature matching shoes with minimal wear. • Scenario 3: Free Meal- Meal A is some kind of watery slop that appears to include meat, veggies, and rice all mixed together spread out on one plate. Meal B consists of baked ham slices, green beans, and mashed potatoes served on one plate, with a roll and butter served on a separate plate, with a slice of pie served on a third plate. • Share responses by creating positive/message board and labeling responses in appropriate category • Journal reflection writing time
  5. 5. • Avoid Wrong Place/Wrong Time • Discuss difference between Relief, Rehabilitation, Development • Relief is the appropriate intervention when a crisis such as a tsunami plunges people into a downward spiral leaving them within a context in which they are unable to help themselves. The appropriate response to such a situation is to provide immediate, temporary aid to stop the bleeding of the powerless victims. • Rehabilitation is the correct intervention when people are able to participate in returning their lives to pre-crisis levels. A good example of this context would be the situation in Indonesia six months after the tsunami hit. • Development is a context in which people are able to participate in improving their lives above the status quo level by addressing deeper issues that contribute to complex problems. *Adapted from The Chalmers Center • Give examples of solutions that worked, failed, or needs improvement and have students brainstorm in which category does each solution belong. Reveal where each solution belongs and discuss why they either worked or failed. • Have the students break into groups and take the needs improvement solutions and come up with ways to make improvements and then present ideas to the class or make diagram/poster/etc. presenting the before and after solution and then display students’ creations (can continue work on this next day) • Journal Reflection writing time
  6. 6. • Emergency Relief, Equipping, Empowering (From Cross Connect Ministries)  Applies to PEOPLE (terminology must be adjusted when referring to people vs. communities/things-i.e. rehabilitation/rehab can have negative connotations when referring to people) • Emergency Relief-a crisis, such as fire, abuse, medical emergency, job loss , etc. that leaves a person in immediate danger either by compromising health, safety or causing a lack of food or shelter, which also leaves the victim unable to provide for or secure these needs on their own. • Equipping-situation has improved to the point that the person is able to assist in taking actions to bring their life back to its pre-crisis level. • Empowering- a person is ready to participate in opportunities that will continue to improve their lives beyond any previous levels. • Example: a family in a rental unit experience a fire where they lose everything. Have students put responses into proper categories: Option: have students work in teams and give points for correct answer. Reward candy amounts to 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. place winners. Answers… • Emergency: provide water/blankets to family/fire fighters while crews are battling the blaze, offering hotel room to family while they make arrangements to stay elsewhere, providing the family with food for several days after fire • Equipping: volunteering to help family sort through rubble to save any items, donating money to help family/landlord pay for clean-up crew to clear home site, raising money to help family replace lost items • Empowering: volunteer to help family build new home through Habitat for Humanity, help family raise money for down payment so they can buy a home, help family with start up costs for renter’s insurance so they can be better protected in the future • Continue work on posters/diagrams from last class • Journal Reflection writing time
  7. 7. • Present students with several different Case Studies describing a person/family with a set of needs. Have students design gift baskets that would be most appropriate for each situation. • Example: Dad, Mom, 1 child, girl, age 10. Mom works full time but has had her hours cut and makes minimum wage. Dad is laid off from his construction company and has only been able to find a few odd maintenance jobs a month. Their entire income is spent on bills. They receive food stamps, but struggle to buy other necessities such as toiletry items, household items such as laundry/dish soap, and replace school supplies their daughter needs. • Have students work in groups and present their case study and the gift basket they created. This can be wrote out or drawn, or students could take a field trip to actually create each basket and then present it to the class. Each case study will represent an actual family in need and either the students’ lists will be taken and the items purchased and given to the families, or the baskets the students purchase will be delivered to the families. Students will receive thank you cards/letters
  8. 8. • Discussion Questions (whole class): • How do you feel when you have no choice, no say, and no participation in something? • How do you feel when you are allowed to be involved in planning and carrying out something? • Exercise: Break into groups of 3-4. Pretend your group is responsible for providing a dinner at a local homeless shelter. You are in control of how you will set-up the room, serve the food, and what food you’re going to make. You are in control of all the details of how to put on this dinner. Describe how you chose to set up the dinner. What were your reasons for wanting to do this, your top priorities that you considered when making decisions, and what goals did you want to accomplish? Share with class. • Lecture: Understand the dynamics of perfection vs. participation that often lead service organizations to hurt the people they want to help • Learn how giving people responsibilities helps combat the negative emotions poverty can cause • Learn how to “do with, not do for” • Exercise Re-think: Get back into your groups and look over your original plan for the dinner. With the goal of participation in mind, what might you do differently in order to provide opportunities to give people responsibility? Decide on at least one change or thing you could add and present this to the class. Journal reflection Writing Time
  9. 9. • Discussion Questions: • Have you ever had someone not trust or allow you to do something for yourself or just do something for you instead of taking the time to teach you to do it? How did that make you feel? • Have you ever had a time that you were either given a responsibility, were trusted with something, or were able to accomplish something that made you feel good about yourself? • Exercise: Break into small groups and read the “Shepherds Home” case study. What examples of responsibility do you see the men taking? How is it making them feel? Share with class. • Game: Remain in your small groups. You’ll move through four stations and work as a team. At each station you’ll be presented with a situation. Write down 2 ideas for each station that are ways to give people responsibility. When all the teams are done, representatives from each team will write their answers on the board. For every answer that is a duplicate (i.e. if more than one team writes “do their own clean-up”), those answers will be crossed out. The team with the most answers left that have not been crossed out, wins. The situations will be: Dinner being served at a homeless shelter, food distributed through a food pantry, house being built for a family through Habitat for Humanity, school supplies being distributed to people in need. • Journal Reflection Writing Time
  10. 10. • Video: Watch Clip from “Hear Our Voices, the Poor on Poverty” that deals with health care. • Discussion Questions: • How did the people in the clip say the doctors at the hospital made them feel? • What relationship building practices did you see that made the visiting health care visits successful? • Acting Out: Customer Service. Break into small groups, each group will be given a scenario to act out, including using props. There will be situations with good customer service and bad. Each group will present their skit to the class and the class will determine whether it was supposed to be an example of good or bad customer service and why they think that. Scenarios will include a fast food worker that is taking your order and gives you a greeting, makes eye contact, asks helpful questions and tells you to have a nice day when handing you your food, a fast worker who is rude, unhelpful, and ignores you, a cashier you texts on the phone and talks with other employees and doesn’t speak to you throughout the whole transaction and leaves you to bag your own items, and a cashier that asks if you found everything you needed, bags items for you, and offers stickers to your children. • Lecture: Customer Service is important because it is an opportunity to either build or break a relationship. Bad customer service loses a company business, frustrates the customer, and can get the employee fired. Good customer service builds store/brand loyalty, makes customers feel special, and can get employees promoted. Similarly bad customer service or relationship building, in charity can make service projects unsuccessful and hurt both workers and the people you’re trying to help, and good relationship building does the opposite. • Journal Reflection Writing Time
  11. 11. • Discussion Questions: • What do you think it means to “do with, not do for” ? • Think back to the video clips, exercises, discussions, etc. we’ve had so far. What are some examples we’ve learned about that are “doing with, not doing for”? • How do you think “doing for” makes both people in need and volunteers feel? How do you think “doing with” makes them feel? • Exercise: Collages. Break into four smaller groups. Each group will have supplies to make collages (poster board, colored paper, markers, etc.) You will be given one of four topics: How does “doing for” make people you’re trying to help feel, How does “doing for” make volunteers feel, How does “doing with” make people you’re trying to help feel, How does “doing with” make volunteers feel. Write out words (hurt, ashamed, proud, etc) and/or use pictures (tears, smiley faces, etc) and arrange them on your poster board to describe your scenario. Present your design to the class. • Notice the words that describe the “doing for” tend to be opposites- making the people in need feel ashamed but the people helping feel proud. The “doing with” will have many more similarities- both groups feeling equal and respected.
  12. 12. • You’re the Teacher! Invite a special guest to attend the end of class (Principle, Coach, Newspaper reporter, etc.) Work in groups to create two scenarios of your own that you will act out and explain showing what you’ve learned. One group choose “doing for, doing with” and show an example of each, and the other do “ perfection vs. participation” and show an example of each. Students will plan, act out, and explain their two skits in front of the special guest. Act as if the guest has know prior knowledge of these topics and work to be able to make them clear and understood to someone who is hearing it for the first time.
  13. 13. • Discussion questions: • Do you think young people can make a difference in the world? • What are some obstacles young people face when trying to make a difference? What are some advantages? • How can technology and social media be used to make a difference (it’s not just for status updates and gaming- discuss the potential for research and spreading awareness) • Have students brainstorm individually about some causes they may be interested or passionate about. Have students share and write responses on board. Circle ones that are similar. Pick 3-4 that have the most similarities and break students up into groups and have them come up with 3-5 ways they could become involved with that cause. Share with class. • Computer Research- Have students go online and try to find a charity that focuses on the cause their group was assigned. Have them write the name of the charity, what they do, and what made that charity stand out to them. Have them get back in their groups and each member of the group share their findings with the other members of the group. • Journal Reflection Writing Time
  14. 14. • Discussion Questions: • What are some ways besides voting, that people can have their voices/opinions heard? • Has anyone ever signed an on-line petition or heard of one? What was it for? • Has anyone ever liked or reposted a cause on facebook? What was it? • Has anyone ever participated in an event, such as a walk or run, to raise money or awareness for a cause? • Computer Research: Have students do research and find at least one petition (check out, organization they could like or follow on social media, or event they could be involved with to show support, raise funds, or bring awareness to a cause they are interested in. Have students present their findings to the class. • Journal Reflection Writing Time
  15. 15. • Discussion Questions: • Are there any name brands you like? • Why do you like them? • Do any of these have a mission statement, something they believe in, or charity work that you know of? • Lecture: You can use your buying and spending power to make a difference. You can make donations or ask people to make donations on your behalf as gifts, many charity organizations have on-line merchandise that supports their work, lots of charities help people in need make products or run businesses to help them earn income. Donating change, such as at the Ronald McDonald house, which provides a place for out of town families to stay while their kids are receiving treatment at Children’s Hospitals, box at McDonalds, or when businesses raise money for causes, such as asking if you’d like to donate a dollar towards a certain cause, are ways to make a difference. Putting change in the Salvation Army kettles during the holidays or donating items that you don’t use/want, and shopping at stores that have a second purpose, like GoodWill which uses funds to provide employment and services for people with disabilities among other programs. • Change Challenge: Spare change really adds up. Break into small groups and come up with several ideas for how you could raise funds (examples putting change collection jars in each homeroom or in the lunch room, having a competition between homerooms or grades over a certain period of time to see who could raise the most, etc.) and also ways you could decide what to donate the funds to (examples: allow teachers or a student group come of with several candidates and allow people to vote, take a poll and pick the most popular, let students write an essay why they think a certain cause should be chosen and have someone pick a winner, etc.) Have each group present their ideas and have the rest of the class vote on which idea they like best from each group. Take the chosen ideas from each group, both of how to raise the change and how to decide what to donate it to, and have teacher write them as a proposal to give to principle/school board, etc. for possible implementation.
  16. 16. • We are going to use what you’ve been learning to become servant leaders in your school. By staring a Service Club, you can take responsibility to serve others and lead fellow students in participating in making a difference in the world. • Discussion: • Come up with a list of projects that could be implemented through the year (cleaning up local parks, food/book/clothing drives, supporting sister schools in other countries, etc.) and plan service awareness weeks, volunteer fairs, etc. • Design: Break into small groups and pick a name, design a logo, create a slogan. You can present a few of each (i.e. you may have 2-3 names you like) Present these to the class for feed back. Narrow your ideas down and create a poster presentation with your final decisions based on any suggestions your group receives. Leave posters displayed and let class turn in ballot sheets to the teacher to vote on their favorite name, logo, and slogan. Have teacher read ballots while students are having journal time, and announce the winners at the end of class. Teacher will present this to the principle/school board, etc. for approval/implementation • Journal Reflection Writing Time
  17. 17. • Journal Review: Have students review their Journal Reflections and write a response of the Top 5 Things they liked or what project/idea affected them the most. • Discussion: Invite students to share any of their Top 5 Things responses. • Exercise: Description Boards. Have two large boards (either poster board or bulletin boards) one labeled: A Good Leader… and the other labeled: Good Service… • Have students write responses on paper to each question and then cut them out and tape them to each board (examples: A Good Leader…treats people with respect, Good Service…treats people as equals) • Personal Commitment Sheets: list at least one thing you can commit to either start doing, stop doing, or do differently in response to this class.