There’s a lot of talk about the greater good lately. Students worry that they do not have enough volunteering and service on their college applications. There is a rigorous push to teach beyond academics and instill life-long social and emotional skills in kids. More and more millennials want a career where they feel that they are making a difference in the world. And the election season has us all thinking about how we can participate in our democracy. We know that the greater good is collectively on our minds, but how can we giveback?
The short answer is: The possibilities are endless. What needs do you see in your community, or at your child’s school? Think of actions you could take daily, monthly, or even yearly. Even small actions can make a big impact. And don’t forget to include the kids. We know that kids are like sponges and leading by example is the BEST way to make caring and giving back a part of their lives.
So where can you and your family start? Join us by setting your #GoalToBeGreater for this school year. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, NBC News Anchor Kate Snow, and our Parent Toolkit experts have already shared their goals to help kick off the school year. Now, you can too, by pledging to make a difference, and by prioritizing civic engagement this new school year.
Take former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, for example. She’s focusing on making civic learning a priority in education. With the upcoming election, she says now is a great time to “show young people how our government works and equip them with the skills they need to effectively inherit our democracy.”
Courtesy of Sandra Day O'Connor and iCivics
Civics Educator Mary Ellen Daneels’ goal is to work with her students to develop the skills required to be civically engaged. “Democracy is NOT a spectator sport,” Daneels says. She works both inside and outside of the classroom empowering her students to take part in their community and government.
MSNBC and NBC News Anchor Kate Snow made her goal with her family to help raise awareness for mental health. Snow says they will participate in a walk with the American Foundation for Suicide Foundation and hopes that taking action and doing this walk with others “will contribute something to our world.”
University of Michigan Professor Nell Duke’s goal focuses on helping kids learn about their local community. “My goal is to engage our children in supporting important cultural institutions in our area. First stop: the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit,” Duke says.
Volunteering Your Time
Parent Toolkit expert and Education Consultant Jennifer Miller has decided to make volunteering the focus for her family’s #GoalToBeGreater. With her son, Ethan, they plan to distribute nourishing food to those who need it.
Dr. Natasha Burgert and her family will be volunteering their time in a different way. While out walking with their new puppy, they will pick up litter in their neighborhood to help clean up their community.
Cultivating Social Skills
Educational Psychologist Dr. Michele Borba is working to make sure every parent and teacher knows how to teach empathy to their kids. Borba says “empathy is the cornerstone to humanity” and is an important skill to cultivate in raising kind, caring kids.
Pre-Kindergarten teacher Anne Morrison also wants to focus on building social and emotional skills this year, by helping her students learn to deal with their emotions.
Harvard Educator Richard Weissbourd says a lot of work has to be done to level the playing field for low-income kids applying to college. And his #GoalToBeGreater is to help high school students navigate the path to college.
Kansas State University Educator Laurie Curtis wants to share books with those who don’t have them. “Books change lives…ours and the lives of others!” Curtis says.
High School Teacher Barbara LaSaracina will help others by making what she calls “Blessing Bags” and giving them to people who do not have essential supplies.
Get creative with how you send your goal to us, and we may help you make it a reality. We’re counting every goal as $1 and whoever sends in the most creative and original submission will get to choose a charity from a vetted list for us to donate to. We’re pledging up to $5,000 and Pearson is matching our donation dollar for dollar.*
When our community comes together we can really make a difference! We’re joined by America’s Promise Alliance, American School Counselor Association, Harvard’s Making Caring Common, Generation On, and Girl Scouts, to help spread the word and increase the total donation we’ll give. Join us, and them, and let’s make an impact together!
Submit your goal at ParentToolkit.com/Goal.
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Void where prohibited. Open only to legal residents of the 50 US or DC who are 18 or older. Begins September 6, 2016 at 10:00 AM ET and ends October 15, 2016 at 11:59 PM ET. Limit 1 entry per person. For Official Rules, including odds and prize descriptions, visit ParentToolkit.com/Rules