I first met the fine folks from “Me to We” while making a coffee run last year at the Phoenix Civic Plaza. I was attending the Arizona thespian festival, but happened on another conference while stepping out to Starbucks for a spell. It was sponsored by the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence, and they graciously let me take a spin through their exhibit area so I could connect with various purveyors of parenting-related fare.
While there, I encountered plenty of familiar faces, including folks from Workshops for Youth and Families and Arizona Dance Coalition. But also several resources I’d yet to encounter during my 20+ years of parenting — including “Me to We,” which describes itself as is “an innovative social enterprise that provides people with better choices for a better world.” I was intrigued because my kids have long been champions of social justice and volunteering.
I spied a book while there that I never got around to ordering, but spotted once again at this year’s Raising Arizona Kids Magazine Camp Fair. It’s “The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care and Contribute” by Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger (founders of Free the Children) and Shelley Page (writer and mother of two children from China) — and they were kind enough to send me home with a copy to share with my kiddos, all in college and eager to change the world.
The book opens with a foreward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and an introduction covering “the three Cs” — compassion, courage and community. The book has 16 chapters organized around these three themes, with headings like “Find Your Passion,” “Curing the Gimmes” and ”Learning Through Service.” Also “First Person” accounts from folks like Jane Fonda, Mia Farrow, Jane Goodall, Ellie Wiesel, Steve Nash, Jason Mraz, Desmond Tutu and Robert Kennedy, Jr.
I’ve read lots of books for youth about “being the change you wish to see in the world” (a phrase attributed to India’s Ghandi), and this is clearly among the best. It’s interesting and engaging, practical and inspirational. “The World Needs Your Kid” is an empowering read for children, teens and adults. There’s oodles of information conveyed in small snippets, and gorgeous photography throughout. Think quotes, tips for taking small actions every day, stories of ordinary people lifting others’ lives and more. Even a section near the back titled “100 Tips to Raise Global Citizens.”
Turns out “Me to We” also offers a variety of summer programs based at the Windsong Peace & Leadership Center — their 40-acre ranch in Patagonia, Arizona. Those noted on their RAK Camp Fair handout include a “Take Action Academy” (ages nine-19) June 24-30 and ”Me to We Arizona Trip” (ages 12+) July 1-14. Also “Me to We Advanced Facilitation Training” (ages 16+ with extensive leadership experience) July 16-24 or Aug 21-29 and a “Me to We Arizona-Mexico Trip” (ages 12+) Aug 5-18.
While exploring both “Me to We” exhibits, I spied several fun trinkets my kids would love. Turns out you can explore the works of several artisans affiliated with “Me to We” online — so keep them in mind when shopping for birthdays, holidays, everyday lunchbox surprises and such. Seems you can even shop for social change these days.
Note: Click here to learn more about a variety of summer camps, many of which offer arts and culture experiences for children and teens. Click here to read a comprehensive review of “The World Needs Your Kid” from The Epoch Times.
Coming up: Going “Gatsby,” Dance meets dirt, Spotlight on “Sweeney Todd”