8 social justice issues; grades 4 and up

Although most parents believe social action is important, and most children and youth have a natural desire to make the world better, it can be difficult to find meaningful and relevant social action experiences for tween- and teen-age children.

Social Action for Tweens & Teens provides eight real-world social justice issues with social action projects and activities that immerse children  and youth in the idea that we can work to make the world better.  Background information and video links make the class easy to teach, and projects will ensure interest and participation.

These social justice issues and social action projects have been chosen to be both relevant and ones in which tweens and teens can make a tangible difference. This work will help to develop lifelong social activists, grounded in their Unitarian Universalist identity.  There are eight social justice issues provided, plus directions on creating your own social action project for another issue. All projects may be used in any congregation, regardless of size, and in any geographic locality.

These social action projects seek to help participants learn that change is possible through multiple avenues, and can happen whether the problem is local or worldwide.  Students will have the opportunity to make a difference in their community and the world in a meaningful way through hands-on projects that will also teach them social responsibility.

Some of the content of this curriculum previously appeared in the curriculum "Harry and UU", copyright 2014, Karen Hager.

This curriculum is also contained in its entirety in "The Magic of UU", also available on this website.  If you are looking for social action projects with wizarding activities, please visit that page.

Social Action

Social Action for Tweens & Teens

Your class will work on real-world social justice issues throughout the year, engaging in social action projects designed to be both relevant to tweens and teens and in which they can experience making a tangible difference.  Although any wrong that needs to be righted can be chosen for a project, this curriculum provides the outline for social action projects on eight social justice issues.  Also included is a template for a disaster or humanitarian aid social action project, intended to allow your class to provide help, should the need occur during the year. Instructions are also included for creating your own projects. 

The social justice issues discussed are:

  • Illiteracy 
  • Hunger 
  • Poverty 
  • Hatred
  • Fair Trade and Child Labor
  • Child Sickness 
  • Animal Cruelty 
  • The Environment

Instructions are also provided for customizing the projects for your class and geographic area, as well as how to create your own social action project. Your class will be capable of producing amazing results!  

Here is what one class of 4th and 5th graders were able to achieve in 9 months:

  • Illiteracy - the class ran a book drive for the local library and collected 420 books for donation.
  • Hunger - the class ran a food drive at the local Kroger store, collecting $3070 in cash and food items for a local food pantry.  
  • Poverty - the class ran a warm clothing drive for a local non-profit that services low-income county residents and collected 259 pieces of warm clothing.  They also made and contributed fleece scarves.
  • Hatred - the class learned about non-biased sources of news information online, and how to respond if they witnessed hatred.  They also participated in the Actively Caring for People movement which teaches the lesson of passing kindness forward.
  • Fair Trade and Child Labor - the class collected signatures on a petition, asking Warner Bros. to release the source of chocolate used in promotional merchandise.  When it was announced that Warner Bros. had committed to using only fair trade chocolate in these products, the class wrote thank you notes to Warner Bros.
  • Child Sickness - the class made bean soup mix and sold it, raising $380 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
  • Animal Cruelty - the class held a “Pennies for Puppies / Koins for Kitties” voting campaign to raise money for the local chapter of the Humane Society, and ran an item drive, using the items in an Easter Egg Hunt to benefit the H.S.  Over $900 in cash and items were donated.
  • The Environment – The class educated the congregation,  and raised money to plant a tree by selling “Save the Monarchs” kits .