QAS institutes “fairness awareness’’ program

Anyone with young children understands how seriously young people view what is fair.

Harnessing this natural demand for “fairness,” Queen of All Saints Elementary School in Oakville has been participating in “That’s Not Fair,” an innovative program designed to build awareness of social injustice among sixth-graders. The students have been participating in this program since the beginning of the school year.

As part of the program, QAS sixth-graders have been studying Missouri’s foster care system and raising awareness of its deficiencies on a local and state level. As part of the learning process, the school’s three sixth-grade classes got a firsthand account from a local foster parent of the problems and challenges foster children and foster parents face in the Missouri system.

After listening to the foster father, the students were more knowledgeable about what life is like as a foster parent.

Ben Johnson, a sixth-grade student said, “What I found amazing was that there are hundreds of babies and older kids who need foster parents, and how the amount of money that foster parents get doesn’t come close to covering what it costs to take care of these kids.”

The children then presented their issue, emphasizing not only improvements needed but also the risk of state budget cuts to the existing program, at the weekend masses at QAS on Feb. 22 and 23. Parishioners were asked to sign individual letters, which the sixth-graders presented to State Representatives.

Elected officials were invited to a rally at St. Mary’s High School on Friday, March 7 in which all sixth-graders in the area participating in “That’s Not Fair” rallied for better foster care. QAS had approximately 100 students, teachers and parents present at the event.

The goal of “That’s Not Fair” is to teach sixth-graders the core concepts of Catholic Social Teaching, including: the dignity of the human person, the difference between charity and justice, solidarity, subsidiarily and a preferential option for the poor. The program raises awareness in a somewhat simple, even playful way, opening children’s minds and hearts to issues far wider than their own domestic environment.

Queen of All Saints Parish is at 6603 Christopher Drive in Oakville. For more information about “That’s Not Fair,” call Kay Morton at 293-1491 or Cindy Schulte, 846-0506, Ext. 343.