Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Building Bridges: A World Religions Program for 8th-9th Grades

Faith In Action: One Laptop Per Child

Description of Activity

Youth participate in spreading the "good news," Unitarian Universalist style, by supporting One Laptop Per Child to provide computing capability to children in a developing nation.

Tell youth that Evangelical Christians aim to spread what they call "good news"—that is, the news that accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior will bring eternal salvation. As Unitarian Universalists, we also have beliefs we like to share—our "good news." Remind the youth that our seven UU Principles express what we believe, and our fourth Principle is that all people have the right to a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Tell the youth they can share our fourth Principle with children in impoverished parts of the world in a concrete way. Explain that by supporting the nonprofit organization One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the youth can help bring children computers to pursue learning and inquiry on their own. Tell youth about OLPC's mission to provide educational opportunities for the world's poorest children by giving each child a rugged, low cost, low power, connected laptop and software tools and content designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning. Invite the participants to plan a fundraising project.

Alternatively, does your congregation have a "sharing the plate" program where proceeds from the Sunday offertory are sometimes given to an organization doing good works in the world? Encourage youth to talk with congregational leaders about donating one plate to OLPC.

Suggest that youth research the organization and tell the congregation about it during a service, explaining the need, what the money will provide, and how this effort expresses Unitarian Universalist beliefs. Help the group prepare their presentation to the congregation by leading a discussion with these questions:

  • Do you have access to a computer at home, school, or a public library?
  • When did you first use a computer for research?
  • How do you think your life would be different without access to a computer and the Internet?
  • How does your use of computers show your Unitarian Universalist values?
  • What are your hopes for the donation the congregation is making? How do you hope it will change a child's life?

Remind youth to write a thank-you note after the donation activity and make sure it is published in the congregational newsletter.