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Grade 7, Following Jesus, Unit 2 Faith In Action
Additional Outreach Project Ideas
Catholic Social Teaching in This Unit: The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
"The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God's creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected: the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative."
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Seven Key Themes of Catholic Social Teaching
Behind the Curtain
One way to begin this project is to have the young people watch or talk about the list of credits that appears at the end of movies, TV shows, or video games. Explain to them that people leave the movie theatre or turn off the TV when the credits start to run. Have them consider all the different types of jobs that go into making a movie. The most visible are the actors and the director. But what about the people behind the scenes—the writers, makeup artists, costume designers, musicians, caterers (after all, people have to eat during the production of a movie), the gaffer, the key grip, and the marketing team?
For a similar but simpler activity, pick any object and have the young people name all the people who worked to get that item to where it is right now. For example, to produce a pencil, here is a glimpse of some of the people involved: the lumberjack who felled the tree; the truck driver who transported the wood; the workers who cut the wood, inserted the graphite and clay, stained, and painted the wood; the people who advertised the product and designed the packaging; the distributors and retailers who sold the product; and the parent who bought school supplies at the beginning of the school year.
The discussion will help the young people get a sense of how much work goes into making a movie or even making something as simple as a pencil.
A Labor of Love
Free The Children is the largest network in the world of children helping children through education. For more information, check out their Web site at www.freethechildren.org or the book Free the Children: A Young Man Fights Against Child Labor and Proves that Children Can Change the World by Craig Kielburger (New York: Harper Perennial, 1999).
Have the young people learn about what it is like to work in a sweatshop. If possible, find first-person accounts. Caution: Be sure to review the accounts first to ensure that the content is age-appropriate. Highlight the fact that it is often young people like themselves and even younger children who are subject to these conditions.
Another approach to this project is to research local or national U.S. companies whose products are made by sweatshop labor. Have the young people use reliable sources of information, as there are many Web sites that contain inaccurate information. Ask them if they've used any of these products and how they feel about what they've now learned. Will it change their current or future decisions regarding these products and/or companies?
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