Upstanders Project

This activity is designed for students in grades one and up to complete with the people they live with. Follow the steps below together.

An upstander is someone who stands up for others. Upstanders are kind and helpful. In times of crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs upstanders more than ever.

  1. Learn about upstanders during the Holocaust

If your student is in grades 1-4, skip this step and start with step 2. 

Even during the darkest times, people still try to help each other. Watch the video on upstanders during the Holocaust here. Discuss the answers to these questions:

  • Why do you think upstanders chose to help during the Holocaust?
  • Was there a time when you were an upstander? Tell everyone about what happened.
  • Was there a time when you wanted someone to help you? Tell everyone about it and how someone could have helped you.
  1. Research people being upstanders today.

Talk about what it means to be an upstander today. Many people are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with kindness and by doing what they can to help others. As a group, look online and find three examples of how people are helping each other during the pandemic. Try to find one example from your community, one example from your country, and one example from a different country.

For inspiration, start with this BBC News article on reasons to be hopeful here.

  1. Discover the needs of others.

Gather everyone you live with and sit in a circle. Start with the person who was sick last. From there, move clockwise around the circle. Everyone should say what they need most during this time. Listen carefully to what other people say.

  • Try not to call people out specifically. For example, instead of saying “I need Timmy to stop playing the drums,” say “I need quiet in the morning so I can get started with my work.”
  1. Show how you will be helpful.

Now that you know what people around you need, everyone will draw a picture or write a page on how they will be helpful to one or more people that they live with. Make sure this is something you can do and are willing to do.

  1. Follow through.

Follow through by doing what you promised in your picture or writing.

  1. Brainstorm how you can help someone else.

Now everyone has practice listening to what others need. Think about other people in your life and consider what you can do to help them. Listen to people and take note of what they say they need. Brainstorm ways you can help them as well.