Children’s Social Justice Work: Homelessness

Last year we introduced a new focus for the very end of the church year in the elementary class: a service project. After exploring our UU tradition and other religions all year, we end with Acting on our Faith: Nature in April and Service in May.

The service project was proposed and voted upon at the Children’s Annual Meeting, and this year the kids chose to do a service project to help EGYHOP. This means we will be exploring the issue of homelessness this month, and taking actions to assist people experiencing homelessness.

At the congregation we will pack care packages that kids can deliver themselves, run a supply drive for items on EGYHOP’s wishlist, and hold a Bake Sale to raise $ that will all be donated to EGYHOP. You can follow along at home as well:

  1. Learn more about homelessness:

Some lovely recommendations of picture books about hunger, homelessness, and poverty here. There is also a good list of books about people without homes and animals without homes at The Institute for Humane Education.

2. Talk about how you can respond to homelessness as a family. The issue of how to respond to panhandlers is especially acute for children … it presents an immediate dilemma and opportunity to practice compassion and yet they see so many adults look the other way. You may have good reasons to choose not to give money to panhandlers, but talk to your kids about why you’ve chosen that action.

3. Get Involved in the effort to aid people experiencing homelessness and reduce the number of people who become homeless. Locally there are many ways to get involved:

SideWalk

Tiny House Justice

Interfaith Works Emergency Shelter

and of course, EGYHOP

There are many additional options if you want to tackle poverty or hunger or medical care … all related issues for people experiencing homelessness

Elementary Service Project

 

This year we are including a service project component in our elementary class. To choose a focus for that project, the kids had a chance to make proposals at the Children’s Annual Meeting, and then everyone voted on what they would like to do. The choice this year was to help shelter animals.

Unfortunately, children under 14 years old cannot volunteer at the shelter with the animals. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty this age group can do!

In our Sunday classes so far we have:

Next up: A Bake Sale and Supply Collection! Next Sunday the kids will be running a table in the hall during coffee hour, selling baked goods and collecting donations of animal supplies, all to benefit the local animal shelter.

And to cap it all off: I’ve arranged a class about cats and dogs and a tour provided by the animal shelter. This is on a Friday afternoon, for a limited number of participants, but those who wish to go will find out how dogs and cats communicate with us and tour the shelter.

This has been a great project!