From pre-K to post-doc, students of all ages are gearing up to head back to class for the 2011-2012 school year. Whether you feel excited about a new start or are dreading the end of a relaxing summer, Fair Trade USA has the tools to help you turn back-to-school into a chance to make every purchase matter.
Let's start with the basics...From school uniforms to trendy outfits for boys and girls, Fair Trade gives you the chance to shop back-to-school fashions  that improve lives and protect the planet. Fair Trade Certified clothing directly benefits the farmers who grow the cotton and the workers who sew your tops, dresses  (and even undies! ).
If you know yourself to be a term-paper procrastinator, a rich cup of freshly brewed coffee  can help you pull an all-nighter or face a hectic 8 AM chemistry class. Fair Trade Certified coffee  will give you the boost you need to study for a mid-term late at night or get the kids dressed and out the door early in the morning. By switching to a Fair Trade breakfast with coffee, bananas, tea and more, you make sure farmers earn a fair wage and have the money they need to send thier own kids to school each day.
Looking for a new bedtime story? Fair Trade USA  is proud to introduce Roses for Isabella , a new children's book by author Diana Cohn . The book invites us to experience life on flower farms in Ecuador through the words of a young girl. Isabella’s journal reveals that not all flower farms are fair to workers and kind to the earth, yet we learn how her family's life changes for the better when her parents find work on a Fair Trade flower farm.
Take back-to-school to the next level by making your college a Fair Trade University  this year. It's a great way to bring people together to support quality products that improve lives and protect the environment. Create your campaign  today!
Moving on extracurriculars, don't forget to trade up your sports ball for one that's Fair Trade Certified. In doing so, you are supporting safe working conidtions and fair wages for the men and women that make the balls. And if that's not a good enough reason to trade your old ball in, research suggests that the little black-and-white label on the ball helps more shots go in.* Visit Fair Trade Sports  and Senda Athletics  to find the best ball for your sporting needs. You can beat your opponent and conquer sweatshops at the same time! Fair Trade Certified sports balls can also be valuable teaching tools in the classroom. Fair Trade Sports has created curriculums for a variety of grade levels  that include student activities, lesson plans and teacher's notes.
*Based on informal research by Fair Trade USA staff
If you want to share the back-to-school excitement with your friends and family, join Fair Trade USA in growing the global Fair Trade network to include more and more farmers and workers around the world. Make a donation to Fair Trade USA that makes a difference by giving educational opportunities to hardworking farmers and their  children. This fall Give the Alphabet to a Girl . Choose a friend or loved one to honor and they will receive a personalized e-card  loaded with thanks and appreciation.
Many children in the developing world do not get to experience the thrill of a first day of school or the pride and honor of graduating from highschool or college. But in communities from Nicaragua to Indonesia, farmers and workers are building schools and providing student scholarships with money they earned by selling their coffee, cotton, or tea on Fair Trade terms. Your every purchase of Fair Trade products and every donation to Fair Trade USA helps ensure educational opportunities for 1.5 million farmers' children in 70 countries worldwide.