Grades K-2
Grades 3-5
Grades 6-8
Social Studies

Driving Change

Organize a donation drive with students to give back to your community!

Activity Partner
Total time estimate:
Activity Objectives
  • Students will understand that each person plays a role in making their community a better place for everyone
  • Then, students will organize a donation drive by identifying a need in their community, collecting helpful items, and distributing them to people

This activity supports the development of the following
social-emotional skills: self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making, and self-management.


Lead a discussion about the value of giving back to your community by asking the questions below:

  • What are different ways that people can give back or offer help to their community?
  • How can we make sure that our actions are actually helpful for others?
  • Have you ever done something to help someone in your community before? How did it make you feel? How did they respond?


Encourage your students to take initiative by organizing a donation drive from start to finish. For example, students might follow a process similar to:

  • Conduct research to identify a challenge in their community (e.g., by reflecting on personal experiences, observing their community, interviewing local non-profit workers, reading news articles and books, etc.). Once students have identified a challenge, encourage them to learn more about its history and context, understand why this challenge exists, and consider how it impacts different people.
  • Brainstorm helpful items for people impacted by this challenge, such as food, warm clothing, household items, holiday gifts, or school supplies. Make sure to include their perspective in this process, so that the items are actually helpful for them and address the challenge that they experience.
  • Plan ways to gather these items. Students might write persuasive letters to their families, create flyers, work with local non-profit organizations, or ask for donations from businesses. Students might create a list of tasks, and assign themselves to a particular role, to ensure that everyone plays a role! 
  • Set up a visit to deliver the items. If an in-person visit is not possible, consider setting up a virtual visit.
  • Reflect on the experience, and think of future opportunities to build on this work! 

Share photos and reflections of your donation drive with your Empatico partner class, and invite students to discuss their experiences during a live virtual exchange. You might even challenge them to co-organize a virtual drive with your partner class!


Guide your students in a post-activity reflection by asking the following questions:

  • What did you learn about our community through this project? What are some of our community's strengths? What are some of its weaknesses? 
  • In what ways do our community's challenges overlap with those of our partner class's community? In what ways are they different? 
  • Do these challenges only exist in our community? What is the national or global significance of these challenges?
  • How did our actions make our community a better place for others? What else could we do? Who else can we involve?
Did you finish this activity? We'd love your input.