Tapestry of Faith: Love Connects Us: A Program on Living in Unitarian Universalist Covenant for Grades 4-5

Activity 3: Mapping the Way to Help

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint and tape
  • Copies of a map (see below)
  • Pencils with erasers, color markers, and crayons-one set for each small group

Preparation for Activity

  • Identify a homeless shelter, food distribution center, senior residence, pre-school, or other facility near your congregation where the group or others in your congregation has worked, will work, or could work in service to others.
  • Optional: Obtain a map (e.g., using an online mapping service) which shows the locations of both the facility and your congregation. Estimate how many three- or four-person groups you will make and copy the map for each group.

Description of Activity

Participants work together to map a route to a facility where they do, or could, help others, echoing the No More Turning Away collaboration among Unitarian Universalist congregations of the Central Midwest District.

Form small groups at worktables. Ask what the children know about the nearby facility-homeless shelter, food distribution center, etc.-which you have chosen. Establish the purpose of the facility, the services delivered there, its location in relation to your congregation, and any relationship the children or others in your congregation have as service providers at the facility (Note: Be sensitive in your phrasing. Some participants may have received services at the facility you have chosen or used similar services elsewhere. Empower all the children as potential helpers. Acknowledge that, from time to time, everyone needs someone else's help; today's conversation is focused on the times when we are the ones helping.)

Tell the groups they will work together to make an illustrated map from the congregation to the facility where they (will, or could) help others. The map should show how to get there and what will happen there. Suggest the groups begin by deciding how to divide the work; illustrating, drawing roads, titling the map or items on it, and pencil-sketching the route are possible tasks. Invite them to work carefully and collaboratively to make a map others could use to find their way to a service opportunity at the facility.

Give each group a sheet of newsprint and a variety of pencils, erasers, markers and crayons. If you have copied maps, give one to each group.

Allow the groups to work for about 10 minutes. Then, ask them to stop working and sign their maps. Invite everyone to walk around and see how the other groups handled the assignment. Then, gather the group to reflect:

  • Was drawing a map together fun? Frustrating?
  • What was your role in making your group's map? How did you like it?
  • Which map(s)
    • ...would be easy to follow?
    • ...are attractive to look at?
    • ...show what goes on at the facility/how people in our congregation (could) help?
    • ...show how the map-makers collaborated? (What evidence do you see, on each map, that the group members worked together?)
  • Have there been times when you would have liked to help people, but did not know how to start? What kind of directions, or even what kind of map, might have helped you help others?
  • Have there been times when you have had to help someone else find help? Besides drawing a map, what other kinds of directions or advice have you given?

Display the children's maps in your meeting space, or in a public area in your congregational building. Congregational members who do service at the facility you chose may enjoy seeing the maps. The staff at the facility might also like to display a map, to mark their connection with your congregation.