CGI U 2013 at Washington University in St. Louis

Teaching Philanthropy – Empowering Youth Through Volunteerism

Deidre Kelly

Deidre Kelly, graduate student at the Brown School

Deidre Kelly would like to change the way we think about volunteers.

As an undergrad at the University of California Santa Cruz, Kelly served as a volunteer teacher at a school for homeless children. She saw kids who were constantly receiving, but not given the opportunity to give back. “They internalized their role of receivers and that showed up in their self confidence,” she says. “They didn’t see themselves as smart or worthy.”

That experience sparked Kelly, who is working on a master’s of social work at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, to come up with “Teaching Philanthropy — Empowering Youth Through Volunteerism.” The project aims to bring a service-learning curriculum to three St. Louis area schools and encourage underprivileged children to take a more active role in serving the community.

Deidre plans to work with teachers at three St. Louis County middle schools to provide children of all backgrounds the opportunity to partake in philanthropic activities as part of their school curriculum. The project, she says, has the potential to engage young people in service-learning activities that draw on classroom material to solve real-life problems.

Kelly is looking to CGI U to ignite the plan. “With CGI U, I’m hoping to walk away feeling inspired about the work that I do and the path I have chosen,” she says.

“Projects like this require networking, public speaking, funding — and time. You need leaders to inspire you, and I think CGI U will do that. I’m looking forward to mingling with other like-minded students, hearing about their projects and passions as well.”