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2009 Teaching House Grant: Fair Trade Project
Though Teaching House New York specializes in English as a Second Language (ESL) education, we also look for ways to support the field of education in general. One of the ways we do this is by investing in New York City public school education and the teachers who work hard to create projects that will engage and educate the youth of NYC by empowering them and giving them a voice.
In 2008, TH NY donated $2,500 to Laura Berson's 11th-grade class at Brooklyn International High School—a public high school for ESL students —for her proposal to lead her students in conducting a Fair Trade Fair. In preparation for the fair, the students researched the economic concepts of international fair trade and presented their findings at Columbia University Teachers College, NY, to an audience chosen by the students (entrepreneurs, consumers, legislators, etc.). The purpose of the fair was to educate each audience member about fair trade and what they can do to support it in their own industry or line of work.
Many of the students in the classes that Laura teaches come from countries with businesses that benefit from fair trade, so the students were able to explore the connections between their home countries and the international business community through their fair trade research projects. The Fair also helped bring together the curricular goals of Laura's economics class and her second semester Participation in Government class.
Laura hopes that "by taking action through the culminating Fair Trade Fair, students will realize that they can make a difference and that what they have to say is valuable, a fundamental tenet of democracy."
Teaching House NY was thrilled to be able to help the class achieve its vision of the Fair Trade Fair and its mission to persuading the fair’s participants in the importance of global fair trade.