Youth-Nex Update and Guest Speaking!

It has been a few weeks since we mentioned going to the University of Virginia’s Annual Youth-Nex Conference.  I wanted to take the chance to thank Ellen Daniels, Youth-Nex Communications  and photographer David Zhao for these pics of our students in action!

This one is my favorite because it has Kibi, Ms. Vasquez and BGC '14/'15 alum Chris Rogers!
This one is my favorite because it has Kibi, Ms. Vasquez and BGC ’14/’15 alum Chris Rogers!

We got so much exposure at the event that Dr. Ellen Markowitz has asked us to be guests at her Lifespan Development class from 5-6 PM Monday, Nov. 23rd.


Chyna grabbed the mic too! I know adults who would have been too intimidated, so props to Chyna and Kibi!
Chyna grabbed the mic too! I know adults who would have been too intimidated, so props to Chyna and Kibi!

This is the first time our ’15/’16 students will be talking about their experiences to a college audience, so we are really excited! To prepare, we are going to get a list of questions that Dr. Markowitz’s students have compiled about what they want to know. Then BGC students will think about what questions that we feel are important that didn’t get asked. Hopefully by answering both sets of questions, we will be able to help some future counselors avoid some common missteps that students experience in their interactions with school counselors.

Kibiriti is reflecting on what this prof has to say.
Kibiriti is reflecting on what this prof has to say.

As we go into the last days before Thanksgiving Break, we are wrapping up our unit on human rights and finalizing our action plans about school lunch. We are going to watch at least one film on the issue. Please let us know which one you think it should be;we would love to hear any suggestions!

Types of Rights

Earlier this week we have learned the history of the United Nations and why the world felt it was so important to create a “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” However, a declaration does not guarantee anything, so the United Nations created treaties or covenants. These treaties would then become actual law in the countries that ratified them. There was a small problem though. The democratic western countries strongly supported civil and political rights like the right to vote, own property, and to a fair trial. The authoritarian countries of the east were not as comfortable with civil and political rights so they focused more on social, economic, and cultural rights. Thus, two separate covenants were created.

Today in class we will be discussing the differences between the two covenants and the many problems, consequences, and difficulties that arise.

  • We will start by splitting into groups and writing down what the group thinks are the five most important rights that every person should have.
  • We will then watch videos describing the two covenants to understand the situation and differences. After we watch, we will split into groups to discuss the following questions ( Video 1 and Video 2)
  1. Look at your five rights that you said were the most important. Which type of right would each of them be- Civil, Political, Social, Economic, or Cultural right? Do the rights that you specified as most important line up with the UN’s?
  2. Why do you think that Western countries felt that it was so important to specify our political and civil rights, while Eastern countries wanted more ESC rights?
  3. Which type of rights do you feel are the most important?
  4. What is the best way to secure and protect these rights? Is the UN the solution?
  5. Do you think these rights are really universal? Can rights be different in different countries?
  6. Is protecting these rights for every single citizen in the world attainable?

For some additional reading or insight:

Recent articles about Human Rights around the world:

Evaluating Plans for Change

This week we will focus on our plans for impacting the lunch program.  Today we analyze our own plan and the roles we are going to play in it with the following questions:

  1. Draw a diagram of all the different parts of the action plan, and who is responsible for each part. Hint: Everyone in the class should be represented at least once.
  2. What type of action is this plan? How do you know if it is an example of Individual, Participatory or Critical Citizenship?
  3. What needs to happen to make this action an example of critical citizenship?
  4. How does the role that you will play impact the overall plan? What would happen to the action plan and the members of your team if you did not follow through with your role?
  5. What are the steps you need to take to carry out your role? What can you do if you get stuck at a specific step? ex. If someone hasn’t responded to the initial email or phone call for contact?
  6. How can you make your role and where you are in the process clear to the rest of your team and the class? Create the tool necessary. (contact charts, checklist, or other graphic organizer)
  7. How else can you build in accountability for yourself and other members of your team?

Wednesday, we will have the opportunity to meet with Marli Gordon of Nepali for Nepali.

Listen to her recent interview to learn a little more about her work:  We will make sure we are a knowledgable audience by filling out the Advocacy group research sheet and preparing questions.

Human Rights: The United Nations and Universality

UN Flag This week we will be exploring Human Rights. Though we have discussed civil rights pretty extensively in light of many current events, it is really important to distinguish between human rights and civil rights. Before jumping into Human Rights Issues, we will earn about the history of the United Nations (UN) and how this organization was formed.  We will start out lesson with a preview of what we know about the UN and its member states in our United Nations Do Now activity.  Monday’s lesson plan ( history-of-un-lesson-plan )includes three short vides about the formation of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After each, video, we will discuss a few guiding questions  in small groups. Questions can be found here: History of UN and Human Rights Videos and Discussion Questions.

The videos we will watch are:

1. The United Nations: History & Functions

2. Brief History of Human Rights

3. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

We will think about why there was a need for the United Nations and how the Human Rights declared by the UN are protected (or not) in our own communities and globally.

Trading Rights

This activity helps students to consider the indivisibility of rights by dividing rights and bartering for them. All students will review the 30 articles of the UDHR. Students will then be split into 3 groups and each group will be given 10 of the Articles. They will have to work within their group to discuss which rights they still need/want and which they are willing to bargain/trade for with the other two groups. Two delegates from each group will negotiate with the other groups to facilitate the trade process. By the end of the activity (and debrief), students will have considered the ways in which some rights might stand alone, if some rights more fundamental than others, and why and how some rights were added later or changed over time.

If there is still time at the end of class, watch this:


For additional HR activity resources:

Related Sites:

List of Member States of the United Nations

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Plain Language Version