Social Justice Projects-From Me to We
This morning, I was reading about a young boy who had special “light up” running shoes, but looking at other children he realized that many other children He began collecting good quality shoes and sent them to his local homeless shelter. Over the course of several years his giving expanded to over 55 homeless shelters. The seed grew.
This week I am having my students plant seeds as well. Each child in my grade six class is to research an organization that is meaningful to them and then tell the class why and how they would like to contribute to it. After the presentations, we will vote as a class on which organizations we wish to support and how we will do it. If a child’s project is not chosen they will be encouraged to find ways to support it with a small group of friends or peers outside of class time.
Ways To Give
I also want my students to know what micro financing is and how it is different from charity. Neither is better or worse but it helps them understand what kind of giving they want to do. Below I have listed some different organizations that highlight both.
They will also be shown ways to give that might include shoveling someone’s driveway, weeding an elderly person’s garden, volunteering at the local animal shelter or writing to companies and the government advocating for social issues.
These young people are our future social justice advocates. If we can plant seeds that allow children to know how to expand their giving and that they truly make a difference in the fabric of many people’s lives they have begun a meaningful journey.
It is more than just asking for money to support others but doing something to earn the money.
Here is a list of several organizations that I have connected with over many years. I know there are many, many others that are incredible portals for social justice. Feel free to send me an email if something is close to your heart and we will and add to the list.
Kiva- World Microfinancing
Stand Tall Education Center- Uganda
En Via – Oaxaca, Mexico
Project Somos- Guatemala
Local Food Bank
I am greatly looking forward to Monday morning when the children bring their hopes and dreams for giving to the class and we can plant and nourish the seeds of social justice. Children begin to know what it feels like to work in a group with a strong social commitment and can make educational choices that support that notion as they move through their education and into the workforce.
Be A Mentor
As a parent or teacher you can become a mentor. Allow children to invest in choosing an organization and help them form their plan and take action. Let them see you creating social change and invite them into the process.
Did you know?
Children who have a mentor figure in their lives are:
53% less likely to skip school
46% less likely to start using illegal drugs
27% less likely to being to use alcohol*
*Source: page 69 Living Me To WE- The guide for Socially Conscious Canadians
By Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger.
Here are some books that may help you invite children into the rich world of giving to others.
• The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care and Contribute, by Craig Kielburger.
• Take Action! A Guide to Active Citizenship, by Marc Kielburger, Craig Kielburger. (2002).
• The Kid’s Guide to Service Projects: Over 500 Service Ideas for Young People Who Want to Make a Difference, by Barbara A. Lewis. (2009).
• A Day’s Work, by Eve Bunting (Author), Ronald Himler (Illustrator). (1997).