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Activity 2: Advocating for Favorite Causes
Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
- Optional: Computer(s) with Internet access
Preparation for Activity
- Post blank newsprint.
- If another meeting space might allow you access to multiple computers with Internet access, consider moving the group to that space for this activity.
- If you will not have computers with Internet access, do some online research based on your knowledge of individual participants' passions. Print findings to share with the group. Here are some sites to get started. Sports/mentorship in developing nations: Grassroot Soccer, Play for Hope; Aquatics Armenia, an Armenian American effort to bring public swimming pools to communities in Armenia. Animal welfare: Humane Society of the U.S., People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals children's website / action ideas. World hunger and health: World Hunger Organization and The Hunger Project; UNICEF; Oxfam, Doctors without Borders; Partners in Health. Ecology and environment: Greenpeace, Sierra Club. Water: Water Aid America; Global Water.
Description of Activity
Participants explore where they might find their own passion for making change in the world.
Take the first 10 minutes to lead brainstorming on how participants might want to make a difference. Ask: "What lights a fire inside you?" You might suggest sports, animals, camping, fashion, or music. How could they help others access the things that they love? How could they use their passions for these interests to make the world a better place?
Include online research in the brainstorming. Help participants investigate online to find helping organizations and projects that connect with their passions. Help them think of search terms that might turn up relevant organizations, nationally or in your area. Encourage them to choose an organization or project they are passionate about and get ready to share their passion for the cause with the group.
With ten minutes left, re-gather the group. Invite participants, one at a time, to briefly tell the group about their cause and why they think everyone should support it. Write the central ideas from each presentation on newsprint.
When everyone has had the chance to advocate, introduce the idea of asking the congregation to support a cause by donating half of a Sunday offering. Explain that as a group, you will choose a cause, and then share their passion for it with your congregation's leaders, as they have just practiced doing in the group.
Lead the group to discuss and choose one cause and organization to support. Where can you make a difference? What is most in line with Unitarian Universalist values and Principles? Which do group members feel most passionate about? Which one will get other people excited, too?
If at all possible, bring the group to consensus on a cause and organization. If consensus seems impossible in the time you have available, you may need to conclude this activity with a vote.
Including All Participants
Make sure quieter members of the group have the opportunity to have their voices heard. You might use a "talking stick" or another object for each speaker to hold. If any participants may be unwilling to speak to the whole group, you could pair participants for research and discussion, then have the less shy partner "advocate" for the cause they choose.