Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Charity Projects That Foster Understanding

by Staff


Tags: Can food drives, Donation drives, Service learning, Poverty awareness projects, Community service, Holidays, Charity projects,

As the holiday season approaches, school kids are once again adopting families and participating in food drives, clothing drops, and toy swaps. The intentions are good, of course, but it turns out these standard approaches to poverty actually reinforce stereotypes of the economically disadvantaged—students’ take away little understanding of the system that creates a need for the charity drives. In an effort to increase sensitivity and still encourage charity, Teaching Tolerance  reports that several schools are now implementing service learning courses, which challenge students’ perceptions and allow them to design their own projects to aid their fellow citizens in more personable ways. Students will also travel to other local schools to share their experiences, and to ensure that good works don’t just happen during the holidays.

Anna Cynar