The Penny Harvest: community service and experiential learning
One of the cornerstones of philanthropy is education. Commons Cents offers a new approach by striving to present philanthropy in a different light – not only as a source of fundraising, but also as an educational tool. Philanthropy is built on numerous values such as respect, excellence, caring for others and generosity, all of which lend legitimacy to effective social action.
By teaching these values to children, by allowing them to understand the social challenges facing their own communities and by giving them the means to invent solutions, we enable them to become socially responsible. Young people then understand their own power to become involved and make a difference; doing good becomes a way for them to enjoy school, since the program takes place through the schools. Children gain self-confidence and their experience at school improves, which makes learning easier and enhances interactions with families and
Common Cents designed a program with these many facets in mind. It has created a network of over 1,500 non-profit organizations. Nearly 800 schools in New York City. Children and their teachers receive support from team members to collect pennies, and then meet with various community organizations before deciding how to allocate grants from the money they have raised. Young people become philanthropists and are then responsible for monitoring their projects to ensure they have a social impact.
> Common Cents: www.commoncents.org