Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Harry Potter and Social Change

I just read a great little article from Youth Service America about altruism, service and social change as exemplified in the Harry Potter books and movies. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Harry Potter stories, but I never realized the service connection before reading this article.

Harry and his friends definitely have a reputation for going out of their way to help people! Here are two service examples highlighted in the article:
  • Hermione founding the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW) to organize her peers and campaign for the rights of house elves.
  • Harry teaching his peers how to ward off evil when he founded Dumbledore's Army
  • Using the greatest weapon - love - to fight the evil Voldemort
Using movies and other culturally relevant media sources to teach skills, knowledge and behaviors is hugely successfully among teens. I'm thrilled to add the Harry Potter stories to my 'bag of tricks' as a way to talk about service-learning and youth empowerment!

If your young people latch onto this connection, you might consider exploring the Harry Potter Alliances, which are basically service clubs for people that want to gather their skills and talents together to make a difference in the world.