Generosity: The habit of giving freely without expecting anything in return. The definition is simple, but generosity and its repercussions are anything but simple;
generosity is powerful, and its impact goes way beyond the recipient. Generous people are happier; they are more engaged in the workplace or school, they develop stronger networks, and are more resilient in the face of stress. Generous people live longer, healthier lives. These benefits are not just limited to adults; in fact, generosity’s impact on youth is remarkable. Generous teens tend to have higher self esteem and to be more engaged in school, and generosity’s power moves even more deeply than that: Generosity makes people better human beings.
Generosity requires one to look beyond one’s self; to consider the needs of another person, a community, or even of another species entirely. It’s easy to forget that youth need us to explicitly teach skills like these, to model them, and give them lots of opportunity for practice. Teaching generosity means immersing students in experiences where they can practice giving their time, talent, and experience giving treasure. So that they see the various ways they can be generous and begin to understand both how generosity can empower them and connect them to others.
By giving students the opportunity to practice generosity within their own community, we allow youth to be active citizens– to create or contribute to a solution for a local issue, to use their voice, their time, and their abilities towards good in the world. To become leaders who know how to make informed decisions, communicate effectively, engage across communities, and ultimately, understand that generosity matters.