Kizuri1

Third graders = Fair Traders!

From time to time folks grumble about “kids these days.” When you meet a group of kids like the third grade class from St. Georges that visited West Main Street on Friday, May 1st,  you realize the phrase “kids these days” can also be a tremendous compliment.

As part of a class trip, the students from St. Georges School first stopped by Kizuri to present a check for $855 to Denise Attwood and The Power of Five Foundation. From the sale of fair trade chocolate and friendship bracelets at their school, they had raised enough scholarship money for 171 months of education for girls in Nepal.

After presenting the check with hugs and namastes, they explored Kizuri and all of the global goods it has to offer. They nestled on the rug in the lobby to hear stories about how fair trade impacts our global community–about the genius of Maasai women making jewelry out of dead, dried grass to support their families and how paper made from elephant poo is helping to save the elephants in Sri Lanka.

“We are lucky to have these young people as are our future!” said Kim from Kizuri. She was especially impressed with their slogan: “Third graders = Fair Traders!”

Kizuri2After hearing the presentation on fair trade principles, the group set out to explore the many organizations that compose the Community Building. Their first stop was the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, where director Liz Moore (who also happens to be student Jack’s mother) talked about the importance of civic activism.

The group then bounded up to the second floor, where they received brief descriptions of the Fair Housing Alliance, the Northwest Mediation Center and Refugee Connections. Vicki Egesdal from Inland Northwest Land Trust talked with the students about her organization and showed the students a map of the trust’s properties. Anita Morgan, director of Blueprints for Learning, also lectured the kids on the value of early childhood education and teacher support.

Upon storming up the stairs to the third floor, the students encountered Barry Pfundt from the Center for Justice. Barry talked about the history of the Center, the differences between criminal and civil law, and how the staff serve as advocates for the under-represented in our region.

Their final stop after cruising by the Unemployment Law Project was KYRS Thin Air Community Radio, where station manager Lupito Flores enlightened the students on the distinction between community and commercial radio. The grand finale was the chance to record the KYRS station ID, which the students performed brilliantly and with much gusto.

The third graders from St. Georges finished their visit to Main Street with a tour of Main Market Co-op. They walked through the store learning about local farmers, fair trade, how the building became LEED certified, and what it means to be a Co-op. In fact, one of the students explained the definition of Co-op so eloquently that the store employee did not need to expand on it. After the tour of the store was over, the students ate local Washington apples and visited the roof, where they saw the solar panels and the green house.

It was inspiring to see the students learn about the global issues AND solutions that are so important to us all.

 

**Thank you to Nikki Davidson, Kim Harmson, and Austen White for contributing to this article!

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