Service Sparks: Family Cultural Night
Ignite meaningful action that lights up the world through "Service Sparks" youth projects!
People in our communities may be diverse in culture, faith, gender, practices, and values. Each day we may be sharing space and routines with people who come from very different cultural experiences. When we know more about what is important to people, celebrating our differences and similarities can make us more informed and respectful and less afraid or critical of differences. Learning about cultural traditions may be a path to peace.
- Discuss the value of learning about different cultural practices. Define cultural competence as "recognizing the qualities of one’s own cultural identity while being open to learning about and aware of the cultures of others." If appropriate, you can discuss what harm can happen if people think unfamiliar cultures are "weird"?
- Find out what cultures are represented in your community. This may be through looking up community demographics (U.S. Census) or by sending a letter home with the youth in your program. See the sample note below.
- Brainstorm a variety of cultures people represent, that may fall under the categories of race, faith, country of origin, or groups people belong to.
- Ask the youth to share samples of different cultural traditions. This video for younger children shows different cultural traditions.
- Make a plan to hold a Family Culture Night to learn about different cultures and celebrate the beauty of diversity and the things different cultures value. Give youth most of the leadership in planning. Youth may invite families and community members to participate in planning, carrying out, and attending the event. Things you might include in the Family Cultural Night:
- Music around the world - feature different instruments or videos of music styles (“Playing for Change” is one example).
- Food from community restaurants from different cultures - request donations in exchange for signage/publicity.
- Provide games from around the world - Mancala and soccer are examples of popular games across cultures.
- Invite families to share their cultures or heritage by giving short presentations.
- Decorate for the event with flags of the world.
- Have the youth (and community guests) give presentations at different stations about a culture or cultural event they’ve researched and are interested in.
- Artwork that represents concepts of culture, heritage, and diversity.
- A book reading
- Hold the event and celebrate the beautiful diversity represented in your community. Talk about how this awareness can change our attitudes and behaviors after this night.
Reflection: Collect feedback from attendees: How did families and young people feel about celebrating a variety of cultures? In what ways can you continue to honor culture in the space?
Explore more Service Sparks projects:
Learning to Give ...
- educates youth about philanthropy, the civil society sector, and the importance of giving their time, talent and treasure for the common good (knowledge),
- equips youth by encouraging philanthropic behavior and experience (skills), and,
- empowers youth to take voluntary citizen action for the common good in their classrooms, lives and communities (behavior).