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When Jenn Miller does a program for children the two key ideas she wants to emphasize are “fairness” and “sustainability.”
“Children — especially young children — have a very keen sense of what is ‘fair’ and what is not,” says Miller, who is assistant manager of Ten Thousand Villages in State College. “I focus on sustainability by bringing along items made from materials that would otherwise end up in landfills — such as candy bar wrappers, metal cans, newspapers, etc. — and showing how artisans have transformed these materials into useful objects.”
Miller and other members of Ten Thousand Villages will be talking about fairness and sustainability when they present “Fair Trade for Kids” at 2:30pm July 17 in Schlow’s Downsbrough Community Room. The event will include a short skit about fair trade (tracing how a basket made by an artisan in Bangladesh comes to the store in State College where someone can purchase it), followed by a reading of the book Galimoto by Karen Lynn Williams, and, finally, a craft project where children can make their own galimoto to take home.
Ten Thousand Villages in State College opened in September at 1341 South Atherton Street. It is one of more than 300 Ten Thousand Villages shops worldwide. The nonprofit sells fair-trade goods made by artisans in developing countries.
State College was designated a Fair Trade Town in 2015 by Fair Trade Campaigns. To receive the designation a town must meet the following criteria: a minimum number of retailers (based on population) offer at least two fair trade certified products; a minimum number of community organizations commit to using fair trade products; the community hosts at least four activities per year aimed at increasing awareness of fair trade (the event at Schlow is one of the events this year); and the town council passed a resolution in support of fair trade.
Miller says many in the Centre Region may not be aware of State College’s being considered a Fair Trade Town, and Ten Thousand Villages is trying to change that.
“Residents in State College can continue this work by incorporating fair trade products into their daily home and work life,” she says. “For example, drink fair trade coffee or tea in the morning, use fair trade certified soap, send a fair trade birthday card. Little changes can make a huge impact.”