A few years ago when the Invisible Children bus came to our campus, the speakers lit a fire under our students like I hadn't seen before. The kids found them inspirational, and suddenly fundraising projects sprang up all over the place. It was the first time that I'd seen large groups of them band together on their own for a cause they believed in, and suddenly they were approaching teachers for help with projects and campaigns. They were inspired, and I'm sure they weren't alone. The speakers looked like them. They were hip and young and spoke a language the kids understood. The kids all started wearing Invisible Children t-shirts and Toms Shoes. So were they just drinking the kool-aid of a not-so-legit organization? Were they falling for the easy activism called "slacktivism" or "clicktivism" by the New York Times? Or were they truly learning empathy, generosity, and selflessness?
I'm interested in this because I bet your students, if they were exposed to Invisible Children, were moved by the organization's message like mine were. I think this is a golden opportunity to ask them to think critically about media and money, and recent accusations of donation money being squandered on high salaries and propaganda films have brought this organization into the spotlight again. I have to say, I hope the organization is on the up and up, and there's evidence to support that its accounting practices are sound, but I would love to see kids sort through the information and reach their own conclusions, because this process is so important as we make decisions about charitable giving and volunteering throughout life.
First, here's the Invisible Children video. It is 30 minutes long and graphic. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4MnpzG5Sqc
Here's a site with links to opposing viewpoints, including financial reports and BBB documents. stopthescam.tumblr.com/
Here's a lesson from The New York Times. learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/...le-moment/
This is a related article from The Atlantic about the movement itself and this type of activism. www.theatlantic.com/international/a...12/254193/
And finally, here's a blog post about the group written by an accountant. fraudexpertcpa.oniskoscholz.com/201...am-or.html