BY MANDY CLARKE
Boyfriends, shopping, prom…. When you think of a 17-year-old girl, the first thoughts that come to mind probably aren’t volunteer work or fair trade. However, for Hannah Fidler, who thinks both locally and globally, they are a main concern.
Fidler’s interest in fair trade and international social justice issues began while in elementary school when she volunteered to help with sales of fair trade items at St. Thomas Lutheran Church. This led to an independent study project on the subject in seventh grade. “I was becoming very passionate about social justice issues and wanted to know how fair trade fit into that picture,” she explains.
In 2009, as a 14-year-old ninth grader, Fidler was one of the original volunteers who helped open Global Gifts, the fair trade store in downtown Bloomington. “I was interested in learning to explain fair trade to a customer in less than thirty seconds in a way that would leave them enthused and curious, and then seeing the level of awareness increase over time,” she says.
Fair trade supports global economic development by creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged artisans and producers. The movement ensures their products are sold at a fair price, while promoting gender equity, safe and healthy working conditions, and responsible environmental practices.
In 2010, Fidler joined the Fair Trade Bloomington board of directors as Head of Youth Outreach. In that capacity she developed a fair trade curriculum for K-12 students that was successfully tested at Harmony School this year.
For her fair trade involvement, Fidler was the recipient of the 2012 Be More Energized Youth award from the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network. “Spend a little time working with Hannah and it becomes clear why we nominated her,” says Dave Debikey, Global Gifts store manager. “She is extremely intelligent, wise beyond her years, highly motivated, and passionate.”
Also a volunteer at Hilltop Garden and Nature Center, Fidler is in charge of developing and maintaining the urban and pollinator gardens there.
Fidler recently graduated from Bloomington High School North, just days after turning 17. At North she was vice president of the student council, a member of the National Honor Society, and a bass player in the advanced jazz band. She also plays six other instruments and sings. Fidler will study jazz bass and biochemistry at Indiana University this fall as a recipient of a prestigious Wells Scholarship.