Labor Day weekend is upon us…the ‘official’ end to summer.  The pending First Day of School undoubtedly has inspired a collective groan from the nation’s school children.  Sorry kids – but you must, once again, put your swimsuit away and hit the books.

But why not make this year special by introducing your school to Fair Trade?  There are plenty of cool, fun and educational ways to help your school trade fair, so rather than spending your last few days of summer catching up on tv re-runs, get a group of friends together and check out these ideas on how to spread the word about economic justice and human rights to your peers!

The good people at Catholic Relief Services have developed comprehensive educational resources for those that are new to Fair Trade and even for those that already consider themselves experts. While these tools are meant for the classroom, we believe they’re worthy for anyone to study. The group offers beautiful and informative flyers and brochures about Fair Trade that you can opt to download yourself or order online for free! They also offer a variety of teaching modules, an action guide, multi-media presentations, fund raising tools, and games that integrate the concepts of human rights, social justice and stewardship right into your teacher’s lesson plan.

Last fall, Autonomie Project was honored to be featured in CSR’s back-to-school guide which encourages educators and students alike to promote the following ways your school can easily support Fair Trade:

A) Wear economic justice on your sleeve!
Support marginalized communities through your uniform purchase. Fair Trade Uniforms offers a wide variety of items made to your school’s specifications, including school uniforms, gym clothes and T-shirts.  All uniforms are made fairly by workers in the developing world.

B) Teach with Fair Trade Lesson Plans!
In addition to the resources from CRS already mentioned above, check out Global Exchange’s clever, multi-dimensional classroom resource that can be adapted to satisfy a variety of curricula standards.  The Fair Trade Resource Network also offers a clearinghouse of Fair Trade curricula for teachers including “Win-Win Solutions” from Equal Exchange for grades 4 through 9 and TransFair USA’s “Focus on Fair Trade” for grades K through 12.

C) Play Fair During Recess and Gym with Fair Trade Sports Balls!
How could any Fair Trade back-to-school guide be complete without our brother company Fair Trade Sports! A full line of sports balls certified Fair Trade and eco-friendly are now available online, including balls for soccer, football, basketball, volleyball, rugby, and futsal.  Also, make sure to check out this really cool game developed by Oxfam that uses the game of soccer to teach students, young and old, the principles of Fair Trade.

D) Fundraise While Supporting Communities in the Developing World!
Participants in the Raise Money Right project know how fun and rewarding it is to use Fair Trade products to raise funds for special projects (rather than the usual blah and conventional candies and wrapping papers!). Global Goods Partners offers an educational, socially responsible, and Fair Trade fundraising tool as well.  Using ethical products for fund raising is not only a great way to teach kids about Fair Trade, but also about social entrepreneurship and how helping others can also help ourselves! And don’t forget, that school cafeterias across the country could always use a little encouragement to switch their coffee, tea, chocolate, fruit and sugar purchases to Fair Trade brands.

E) Put Your Best Foot Forward with Fair Trade Sneakers!
As all you readers should know by now, we’re proud to bring the Ethletic sneaker collection to the students of America!  The ultimate in ethical footwear, we now offer all 10 styles of the popular Fair Trade and eco-certified shoe brand.  This year, you can head back to school in style without having to sacrifice your values!

So what are you waiting for???  You have your assignment and the first bell has rung….so hurry on your mission and help us spread the word of Fair Trade to YOUR school!

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