Human dignity: the value of the human person. To help understand this often complex concept, WYA discusses human dignity and the person with young people through its programs such as Track A, the ELC, and the ISF—all of which delve into political and philosophical discussions. These programs allow those engaged to understand the place of dignity in the context of greater social, cultural, and political questions, in conversation with college courses, work, and more. But just as we believe that dignity is possessed from conception, we also believe that human dignity can be recognized and understood at a young age. As a result, WYA has developed an additional program, the Human Dignity Curriculum (HDC), to teach human dignity and an understanding of the human person from kindergarten through 12th grade (ages 6-18).
WYA is implementing the HDC to pilot schools in New York and Mexico. The curriculum focuses on encouraging students to understand their dignity as humans and to develop good habits that free them to pursue human excellence, long-term goals, and authentic happiness.
In the midst of numerous educational models and frameworks, HDC’s importance stands out. A Mexican school principal’s testimony describes the program as “important because it is 100% human development. Complex philosophical ideas are articulated with a clarity that children can understand.”
After HDC classes, a Mexican 3rd grader explains that “everything has its price, like plants and animals, but us humans are worth the infinite.” By understanding human dignity, young people can begin to conduct themselves in a way that reflects this infinite worth. An 8th grader in New York shares that “I’m beginning to understand that through our actions we reveal our character, and this influences how others treat us; if we’re good people, we inspire others to be better to us.”
HDC is the first program to teach with the context of the whole person rooted in a clear anthropology of the person—a comprehensive understanding of both who the human person is and the things of which he is capable. With the HDC, WYA continues to pursue and build a culture that fosters integral human development by beginning with the youth that will shape the world tomorrow.