For most kids, holiday wish lists consist of well-marketed toys, games, superheroes, and play sets. But most kids don’t have Ms. Roderick and Ms. FitzPatrick as their teachers.
Erika Roderick and Devan FitzPatrick teach the 5th Grade Brimmer classroom at The Advent School in Boston. During the fall, the class studied the Industrial Revolution and child labor in a historical context. It was a period in which big factories emerged in cities, and along with them, abuse and very hard lives for many children.
This month, these teachers went on to explain that such abuses didn’t just take place in the past — it still happens today.
As companies pursue profit, they too often seek the cheapest processes and materials for making stuff. Overseas production still fails to provide adequately safe working conditions, give short shrift for environmental protections, and even engage in modern slavery. According to Made in a Free World, there are 29 million people working under the threat of violence for little or no pay, 26 percent of whom are children.
The students decided they didn’t like that. They talked about it for a while and asked a simple, yet powerful question: “What can we do to help?”
Ms. Roderick had recently learned of DoneGood and knew it can be used to find companies making the world better, including businesses committed to keeping their supply chains free of human trafficking and child labor and paying workers a living wage. She showed it to the kids and they were excited.
The class researched DoneGood companies and other businesses and put together a report, “Companies That Promote Good: A Holiday Gift Guide”.
Their report highlights companies like The Root Collective, a women’s footwear company that empowers people in the slums of Guatemala with economic opportunity. The student guide says: “This would be a good choice because this company stops gang violence, brings jobs to people who need them, and finally, they look absolutely AMAZING!!!”
Another student wrote, “Did you know that if you paid 20 dollars for a T-shirt the creator of that shirt might only get a few cents? It’s true! But companies like ONNO help the creators get what they deserve!”
The students thought if everyone used their gift guide it would help end child labor and worker abuses. So they shared it with the rest of the school. The school liked it so much that they shared it with all the parents.
The students hope that as more people make purchases like this, with good companies making good stuff, it will help other kids around the world. During a season when many kids are handing out lists of wants, these kids created a list of hope.
Take a look for yourself at the gift guide created by some pretty inspiring 10 year-olds.
Cover Photo: 5th Grade students from the Advent School. Used with permission.