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Penpal Program

fairtradeuniform.jpgYouth United Across Borders

Program Overview

Fair Trade Resource Network launched Youth United Across Borders (YUAB) in June 2009. The program is funded mostly by a generous grant from the Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade Fund.  During the 2009-10 school year, this unique program will connect 6 youth groups from North America with 6 groups in Fair Trade communities overseas, reaching a total of 360 young people. With a goal of raising awareness and increasing support for Fair Trade, YUAB will empower youth to:

Develop Relationships…

children-in-science-class…as penpals. Through letter writing & photo exchanges, participants will be able to share their experiences with Fair Trade. Furthermore, students will develop cross cultural understanding and personal connections with youth from different socioeconomic & cultural circumstances.

Help Share their Experiences…

with their communities. With the guidance of YUAB, each of the 12 groups will design a unique exhibit including their letters and photos to display in the group’s home community. After YUAB, these displays will become part of FTRN’s ongoing Education Through the Arts program, which sends Fair Trade education exhibits to hosts around the country

….with the public. With assistance from YUAB, each young person will compose a letter about their experience with Fair Trade to a local editor. The impact of these letters will be exponential: thousands of readers in 7 countries will learn about the benefits of Fair Trade. Moreover, YUAB will showcase and promote the youths’ ideas on a designated website.

…with their local government. All participants will address letters to their local civic leaders, expressing their perspective on Fair Trade and its benefits. The voices of 360 youth speaking about the positive impacts of Fair Trade can influence our leaders to take notice of this important cause.

…with President Obama. With training from YUAB, each pair of penpals will collaborate on a letter to President Barack Obama advocating for Fair Trade, totaling 180 joint letters to the President.

Have Long-Term Benefits…

…for the youth. Through YUAB, youth in the U.S. and overseas will learn more about Fair Trade and develop capacity for issue advocacy.  YUAB will teach the young people to seek ways to have their voices heard and to promote social justice. These lessons will last a lifetime.

…for Fair Trade. YUAB will help address the lack of recognition and understanding of Fair Trade among producer communities, civic leaders and the public. YUAB will increase diversity in the Fair Trade movement, increasing media exposure and support for Fair Trade.

After piloting this program with select youth groups until May 2010, FTRN intends to open up participation to other interested groups in the U.S. and overseas.  For further information, contact FTRN’s YUAB Program Coordinator.

Fair Trade Resource Network

PO Box 12347 Philadelphia, PA 19119-0347