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Philanthropic events are lead by people of all ages and groups, from successful billionaire entrepreneurs, to non-profit organizations, to young girls selling $4 boxes of cookies. Many educational benefits pair with participating in philanthropic activities and events, especially for students. In many ways, student-run philanthropies are becoming very popular at all ages, from elementary and high school to higher educational institutes.

At a young age, students can join organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and learn fundamental life skills. In addition to practicing these skills and lessons, the scouts heavily partake in fundraising through various outlets to raise money for their organizations, as well as to help support local foundations. The delicious cookies in exchange for a donation make it all the more worthwhile as well.

In some high schools, students have the opportunity to participate in grant programs for local organizations, as well as fundraisers for scholastic clubs and athletics. These activities can directly impact students at a young age and provide them the experience to learn about working in teams, building creativity, and the effects of fundraising and charity on a community. They also serve as a great way to build relationships between the schools and the local communities in which they reside.

One perennially trending topic that is helping to raise money and awareness for important causes is student-run dance marathons. In universities across the United States, students are quite literally dancing their way to supporting great causes, such as cancer research in most cases. Students will collect donations for these dance marathons leading up to the event, in exchange for a pledge to stay awake and dancing for the entire event. In most cases, these dance marathons last 24 hours and include entertainment, music, food, and an ecstatic atmosphere. In addition to being a fun event that students look forward to each year, they tend to raise an incredible amount of awareness and money for their respective causes. In fact, Penn State University’s THON (short for dance marathon) currently holds the record as the world’s largest student-run charity, raising over $150 million towards pediatric cancer research since 1973.

Today’s youth is tomorrow’s future, and instilling an understanding and appreciation for philanthropic work in students has many benefits for not only the students and the next generation of workers, but for the greater good as well.