Building Social Capital: Being a Citizen of Your Community

  • Discussion and Self-Reflection Questions

    • Itoro started volunteering after his mother forbade him to play football. If she had not done this, do you think Itoro would have made decision to volunteer anyway? Why or why not?
    • The dictionary defines social capital as the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively. How would you define social capital in your own words?
    • How did Itoro’s efforts and activities build social capital? How did he benefit? How did his community?
    • The dictionary defines citizenship as the ways in which Itoro helps his community, which do you feel most demonstrates citizenship? Why?
    • What is Itoro’s motivation to help his community? What would motivate you to help your community?
    • One of the ways Itoro is helping is by working on voter registration. Why do you think Itoro feels it is important to vote?

    Activity: One Big Neighborhood
    Begin this activity by reviewing the definition and impact of social capital: the collective value of all of one’s “social networks.” Social networks can be who people know and the activities and opportunities that can arise from these networks. Be sure to discuss how these social networks are different from those online communities like Facebook and Twitter. Those who have created social capital can benefit from information and assistance that might result in the form of information (about jobs or college opportunities) as people help others in their social networks.

    Almost daily, there are news stories, photos and online posts about people acting as contributing members of their individual community or of the general population. These people are not necessarily heroes; they are most often “regular” people who embrace their roles as citizens and builders of social capital. People volunteer to clean public parks, encouraging people to vote, attend public meetings about causes that they care about, tutor people new to the language – these are but a few ways how people respond to being members of a society that allows them privileges and protects them.

    1. Assign either individuals or small groups to collect recent articles regarding building social capital.
    2. Require that the collection of articles includes at least one (1) regarding an effort of national importance; one (1) illustrating an activity in a local community; one (1) about volunteerism. You can encourage students to find a story about a high school student (or students) who are building social capital, as well.
    3. Students may bring in the articles and/or notes of their research.
    4. Students will share their findings with the class.
    5. After sharing findings, the class should discuss and note the similarities of purposes among a diversity of causes — focusing primarily on what motivates “good” citizenship, its rewards, etc

    Related College Board Advisory Guide Resources

    Different Types of Relationships, page 109
    This activity will help students identify the needs that are met by different types of relationships. As a result, students will understand the importance of a diverse support network.

  • Video Overview

    Itoro Ufot’s mother was concerned about the direction in which her son’s life was headed. His school grades were slipping, and he started getting into more trouble because he had a difficult time finding an outlet for his anger. To help him get back on track, his mother intervened by forbidding him to play football until he got his life in order. She wanted her son to learn how to be a responsible and productive citizen. That’s when Itoro got involved with a local Boys and Girls Clubs of America chapter. He began working alongside his mentor to lend support to others. Now Itoro volunteers at a camp and goes door to door registering voters in his neighborhood. When he graduates from college, he wants to work full time for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Itoro now recognizes that a lot of people made sacrifices for him, and he wants to be a responsible citizen and give something back to his community.

    Lesson Plan