Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Heeding the Call: A Program on Justicemaking for Junior High School Youth

Activity 2: Spheres of Influence

Activity time: 15 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Copy Leader Resource 2, Spheres Diagram, on poster board. You will refer to the spheres during future workshops, so keep the poster board nearby.

Description of Activity

This activity examines how one person can influence others to work for justice.

Remind participants that awareness is a first step toward social justice. However, we do not want to be aware simply to say, "I see injustice." After seeing it, people need to do something about it. Sometimes, you can directly address injustice. At other times, you need help.

Show the diagram to the group. Remind them that the story was an example of how one person, seeing an injustice, made big changes. This is because we all have the power not only to act directly, but also to influence others. The diagram is one way to illustrate this influence.

Explain that the inner circle is the sphere of Self. Write "Self" next to the inner circle. Ask participants to name ways they influence themselves to create more good in the world. If they do not mention these ways, add them to the poster:

  • Educate yourself
  • Understand yourself (your values and feelings)
  • Examine how you want to live in ways that are aligned with your values and feelings
  • Associate with others who share your values and desire for change

Invite participants to give specific examples of ways to educate themselves for social justice.

Label the next circle "Close Family and Friends". Point out that this sphere is composed of those closest to them. Ask for ways they influence their family and friends, making sure to include:

  • Examine who you want to be and how you want to interact with the people closest with you
  • Talk with them about justice and injustice
  • Invite them to work with you to create more justice
  • Mentor family and friends (support them as they identify and work for justice) and let yourself be mentored.

Invite participants to name people who have mentored and supported them in justice work.

The next circle is the sphere of "School and Congregational Life." Label it and say that this sphere includes other groups to which the individual belongs. As the group names ways they can influence this sphere, make sure to include:

  • Examine who you want to be and how you want to interact with people in your school, church, and other groups
  • Talk to group members about justice issues
  • Read bulletins, newsletters, websites, and other sources of information to learn what activities your school, congregation, or other groups are about social justice issues. Write pieces for these sources sharing your views
  • Find allies - people who share your values and worldviews and want to work together.
  • Attend events sponsored by the groups. Sponsor events yourself.

Invite participants to tell about a justice or community service activity sponsored by a group to which they belong.

Label the outer circle "Community." This circle includes groups to which they may not have intimate ties. It includes cities, states, nations, and the world. How can youth influence this sphere? Remind them to:

  • Examine who you want to be and how you want to interact with people in local and global communities.
  • Attend events, like rallies, lectures, and demonstrations to educate themselves and let their voice be heard.

Remind participants that most importantly, to influence all spheres, they must open their eyes and be aware. Say that you hope youth will continue to practice awareness.