Stories for Giving Games

These are news posts that pertain to Youth and Schools Playing it Forward

Giving Games Champion Spotlight: Agape Spiritual Center

Compassion Games is thrilled to include the AGAPE International Spiritual Center as a participant in the Global Giving Games Compassion Relay.  The Compassion Games are in total alignment with the Center’s Vision to “take a stand for love, for peace, for being a beneficial presence on the planet.”  

In recognition of the Center’s commitment to support that “every person be inspired to cultivate a heart of love as wide as the world,” we acknowledge and recognize the AGAPE International Spiritual Center as a “Global Champion of Compassion.”

En route to Standing Rock in North Dakota, Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. visited the the AGAPE Center where he passed the Compassion Torch to esteemed members of their community. Among them were the incredible Reverend Michael Beckwith, musical icon Stevie Wonder, and thousands of youth. Each member stated their commitment to holding the light of compassion. The event can be viewed in the video below.

To Michael Beckwith, Stevie Wonder, and all members of the AGAPE International Spiritual Center, we offer our deeply heartfelt thanks. Your commitment to the being a beneficial presence on Mother Earth uplifts us all. You are truly all Champions of Compassion.

Learn more about the AGAPE International Spiritual Center here!

Final Champion Spotlight: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and All Champions

For Day 12, the final day of the Giving Games, we are profoundly humbled to pass the Compassion Torch from Gary Zukav, Linda Francis, and Seat of the Soul Institute to the honorable Oceti Sakowin, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The last 11 days have been a remarkable journey, made up of one act of compassion and generosity to the next from players and teams around the world, as well as from one Champion of Compassion, accepting the light of the Compassion Torch, to the next.

Youth, Interfaith communities, and Indigenous Peoples have come to stand firmly together, to unify and say NO to the Dakota Access Pipeline, but even more so to say a resounding YES to a future that is sane and healthy, that has clean water to drink for all people. As this takes place, we can each begin to feel what the Standing Rock Sioux call “Wopida” (from the Dakota people) or “Wopila” (from the Lakota people) in our hearts and prayers.

And so it is time for us to come together, to Build a Global Fire of the human spirit, and unite in a Global Wopida Ceremony together!

Wopida is a word with profound, infinite, eternal meaning and transforming spiritual energy. The purpose of the December 10th Global Wopida Ceremony is to be thankful and grateful for whatever Life bestows on us, knowing that every test and challenge comes into our lives for our spiritual growth and upliftment.

Join the Global Wopida Celebration

When: Today, December 10th, 2pm PST

It is from the loving guidance of Indigenous leaders such as Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Faith Spotted Eagle, Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II, Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., and youth Indigenous leader Bobbie Jean Three Legs that the events at Standing Rock have resulted in a global movement, and have received global support. It is from the actions of water protectors arriving from around the world, comprised of over 300 Indigenous Nations, youth activists, interfaith communities, and even two thousand veterans, that resulted in recent decision by the Army Corp of Engineers to deny easement to Energy Transfer Partners to build an oil pipeline under a lake on Oceti Sakowin land without their consent.

Indigenous youth activist Bonnie Jean Three Legs is credited for sacrificing much in order to organize the water protectors at Standing Rock. We would like to honor her as well. Watch this clip of Bobbie Jean Three Legs speaking on behalf of the vision of her people, and all people.

We also want to honor the youth, and the organizations that represent them: Play for Peace, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and the Earth Guardians, the International Institute for Child Rights Development, the BlueYouth Project, the American Indian Society for Engineering and Science (AISES), the Peace and Dignity Runs, Nemo Patel and Empty Hands Music, the Centre for Global Education, and Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots.

We want to honor the Interfaith leaders at the Agape Spiritual Institute, the United Religions Initiative, and Monica Willard who is the UN Ambassador for URI at the United Nations.

And of course, we want to honor the 92nd St Y and #GivingTuesday., the Seat of the Soul Institute, Compassionate Louisville, and Unify for making the Giving Games possible.

It is due to all of you that the fire of compassion is burning brightly in these challenging, seemingly darkened days. Thank you for your determined, relentless efforts to bring a vision of a safer, kinder, more just world we know is possible into reality.

Giving Games Champion Spotlight: Gary Zukav and Seat of the Soul Institute


Gary Zukav and his wife Linda Francis, who run the Seat of the Soul Institute and embody a power-sharing model of leadership that the Institute promotes.

For Day 11 of the Giving Games, we are absolutely delighted to pass the Compassion Torch from the Center for Global Education to none other than Gary Zukav, his wife Linda Francis, and their Seat of the Soul Institute!

Gary Zukav is an extraordinary human being, to say the least. He is the author of four consecutive New York Times National Bestsellers, and has appeared on Oprah over 35 times, more than any other guest in the show’s history. Oprah has admitted that she keeps a copy of Gary’s book Seat of the Soul by her bedside table. In the Seat of the Soul Institute, Gary and Linda have supported innumerable people around the world in “creating meaning and purpose, creativity and health, joy and love” in what they call “authentic power, the alignment of the personality with the soul.”

Though, with all of this said, you would not know any of these facts upon meeting Gary, for his humility and warmth emanates a precious kind of humanity that strips us all to our barest, most equal and sacred core. That of one Universal Human, as he says, to another.

Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. (Chairperson of Compassion Games) and Gary have been adopted brothers to one another for decades, and have been allies to one another all the while. As tomorrow is the last day of the Giving Games, culminating in a Global Oceti Sakowin Wopida Ceremony, we would like to share with you a story Gary had written about his relationship to Brother Phil, the teachings Brother Phil shared with him, and the powerful importance of what just took place at Standing Rock in North Dakota. The story is titled “Warriors of the Heart.”

My adopted Lakota brother, Phil Lane, Jr., told me a story at a gathering of young Native Americans I have never forgotten, and I feel certain that I never will. A rancher on the plains often saw a sweat lodge near his range. A sweat lodge is a low dome-shaped tent made of bent young trees. In the old days they were covered with buffalo skins. Now they are covered with tarps that are covered with old blankets. The lodge cannot be entered except through a small door that makes people crawl to enter. It is difficult not to be humble while crawling into a sacred space to pray.

It is hot in the lodge. Water is thrown onto red-hot rocks from a fire outside, and the steam makes the lodge feel like a sauna. Between each round of prayer, people go outside to lie on the ground or walk and breath the fresh air. Then they go back into the lodge to pray some more.

During one of the times between rounds, the rancher rode up to the people on the ground and asked, in a rough voice because he was frightened, “What are you doin’ in there?” The short conversation between him and the Lodge Master went like this: “We are prayin’. What are you prayin’ for? We are prayin’ for you.” I knew the story was true because that is what the people in my sweat lodges did, also. They prayed for everyone, not only themselves.

Phil Lane, Jr., is a hereditary Chief, and he received much criticism and anger from other Native Americans of many different tribes for his gatherings that included white people. “How can you do such a thing!” they demanded. “How can you give white people our sacred rituals? They have taken everything from us. They have taken our land. They have taken our homes. And now you want to give them the only thing we have left – our culture!”

Phil patiently explained again and again, “Now is the time of the coming of the prophecies. The Great Spring has arrived. Now is coming the Day That Will Not Be Followed By Night. We must share our wisdom with our Brothers and Sisters.” The elders agreed with Phil, and they taught him and supported him.

This was almost thirty years ago. Now we are blessed to hear these healthy, grounded, life-affirming teachings of a shared Humanity, of one family of Life, and of our Responsibilities to it and to one another from many voices, young as well as elder. You can hear these voices at Standing Rock. They are sharing with us what Native American elders taught them and their ancestors for thousands of years. They are showing us what we need to do to heal the damage that we have caused, and how to soften a self-created climate disruption that now threatens all life.

Native wisdom around the world can teach us more about how to relate to Mother Earth than even the most heart-felt scientists. We have ignored this wisdom, disdained it, and killed those who carry it for five hundred years.

Now is a good time to listen, and to pray with our Native American sons and daughters and brothers and sisters – for water protectors and police, for people we agree with and people we don’t, for the one family of Life that we are and all our relatives in it.

Gary and Linda not only embody not only power-sharing leadership, they embody the spirit of compassion. Thank you for your countless years of service to the human family.

Learn more about the Seat of the Soul Institute here!

Seat of the Soul Institute

Giving Games Champion Spotlight: Terry Godwaldt and the Centre for Global Education

For Day 10 of the Giving Games, we are absolutely delighted to pass the Compassion Torch from Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots to the incredible Terry Godwaldt and his Center for Global Education in Edmonton, Canada.

The Centre for Global Education’s (TCGE) mission is to educate 21st Century students for a 21st Century world. TCGE achieves this by providing global learning opportunities, enhanced through connective power of technology, and guided by research that is grounded as well teaching that is highly innovative. TCGE acts as a hub for global education, connecting many exceptional organizations and initiatives together by a common purpose.

Since 2006, over 150,000 students from over 400 schools, in 30 countries, have participated in more than 350 conferences, making TCHE the biggest provider of real time high school collaborative programming in Canada; and it sounds like they are getting started.

On December 8th, TCHE will be connecting close to 1,000 youth from all across North America, from Alaska to Toronto to North Carolina, to celebrate Human Rights Day. You can join the action and find out more here.

Terry Godwaldt, the founder of the Center for Global Education, is a longtime supporter of the Compassion Games. His dedication to ensuring his students, and students around the world, receive powerful and relevant opportunities to learn is greatly inspiring to us all. His work in reshaping global education has been recognized by the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee award as well as the ASCD award for Innovative Teaching. It is with our great privilege that we are able to add to these impressive recognitions with our own humble one, by naming Terry and the Centre for Global Education as pioneering Champions of Compassion.

Giving Games Champion Spotlight: Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots

For Day 9 of the Giving Games, we are overjoyed to pass the Compassion Torch from Compassionate Louisville to Roots and Shoots, the youth-led community action organization inspired by the work and guidance of Dr. Jane Goodall!

Dr. Jane Goodall and Roots & Shoots members plant trees at the Singapore American School in Singapore.

Dr. Jane Goodall and Roots & Shoots members plant trees at the Singapore American School in Singapore.

Roots are the foundation of life, plants and human alike. And shoots are these seemingly weak, hopeless expression of life who, in their search for the light of the sun, are capable of breaking right through a brick wall to achieve their purpose! This is how Dr. Jane Goodall describes Roots and Shoots to young people… they are these shoots, capable of unbelievable good and great change, capable of breaking through all of the “brick walls” of our world to make it a healthier, safer place for animals, for all people, and for the environment.

Roots and Shoots has thousands of expressions in the form of youth-led community service projects around the world. You can view all of the current youth led projects for Roots and Shoots here.

View the 4-Step Model for Roots and Shoots Below:

Dr. Goodall never fails to honor the land, and is driven to make are all sentient beings are cared for. This is perhaps why she and Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. are such kindred spirits. Chief Phil, Chairperson of CGI, considers Jane his Elder Sister. The two have spent years working together to protect and stand for Mother Earth, as well as being champions for the voices and action of our young people.

We are so, so deeply grateful and honored to pass the Compassion Torch to Dr. Goodall and her inspiring, important organization, Roots and Shoots. May all the shoots of our young people grow strong and true, through any brick wall that impedes their purpose and right to a safe, compassionate planet.

Giving Games Champion Spotlight: Compassionate Louisville

For Day 8 of the Giving Games, we are so grateful to pass the Compassion Torch from the Earth Guardians to none other than Compassionate Louisville, a coalition of pioneers blazing the way as a model compassionate city.

Compassionate Louisville is a coalition of over 100 bustling, active partners working to transform their city into a model compassionate city the rest of the world can emulate. Each organization of this coalition is a Champion of Compassion in their own right, but together? It’s almost unfair for the rest us! In their lineup, Compassionate Louisville has the (Muhammad) Ali Center, Festival of Faiths, Service for Peace, Fons Vitae, Spaulding University, the Global Game Changers, and Mayor Greg Fischer – the man whose challenge sparked the very beginning of the Compassion Games itself – just to name a few.

It also includes the Louisville Islamic Center, which, under the guidance of Dr. Muhammed Baber, is organizing a Compassion Walk in response to the fear about Trump’s election on December 10th.

Compassionate Louisville will also be visited in 2017 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to mark the exciting opening for the International Center for Compassionate Cities.

We at Compassion Games are infinitely inspired by the folks who call Louisville their home. And, they aren’t afraid to tell you just how compassionate they truly are, going so far as to say they will visit your cities during the Compassion Games to help YOU beat THEM. Now that is compassionate action at its best.

Thank you, Compassionate Louisville, for always bring the spirit of competitive altruism in full force, and for truly being a model compassionate city. Game on!

Learn more about Louisville and the Compassionate Cities Movement below!

Giving Games Champion Spotlight: Earth Guardians

For Day 7 of the Giving Games, we are so deeply grateful to pass the Compassion Torch from the United Religions Initiative (URI) to the Earth Guardians, a tribe of young activists, artists, and musicians from around the world stepping up as leaders, and offering a powerful voice that cannot be ignored.

Few forces on planet Earth burn through the red tape of bureaucracy and the divisiveness of politics like the voice of our young people. Free from status, immune to the bias that can come from being entrenched in the complacency of the status quo, young people speak with a startling truth. It is human instinct to listen to the vulnerability and innocence that youth embody. So, what happens when that vulnerable truth transforms into a catalyst for action to protect and restore Mother Earth? You get Earth Guardians.

The Youth Director of Earth Guardians, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’) is a 16 year old indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, and a profound voice on the forefront of a global, youth-led environmental movement. At just six years of age, Xiuhtezcatl addressed the Rio+20 United Nations Climate Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and went on to address the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York.

Xiuhtezcatl is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Obama administration for their failure to protect the atmosphere and their future. Among his other work, he has fought locally to get pesticides out of parks, coal ash contained and moratoriums on fracking in his state. Despite his lawsuit, in 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and became the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council.

Need we even say it? When it comes to compassion for Mother Earth and the future of the human family, Xiuhtezcatl and Earth Guardians live in the heart of that spirit. They are not only Champions of Compassion, they are ones we should all pay close attention to, learn from, and support in any way we can.


Download the Earth Guardian Climate Leaders Handbook here.

Learn more about the Earth Guardian movement here.

Giving Games Champion Spotlight: United Religions Initiative

For Day 6 of the Giving Games, we are excited to pass the Compassion Torch from the International Institute for Child Rights Development (IICRD) to the United Religion’s Initiative (URI)! URI has taken up the Compassion Torch for the second Compassion Games coopetition in a row, and we are continuously inspired by their work to bring interfaith peace to reality.

The United Religions Initiative (URI) is a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world. The purpose of the United Religions Initiative is to promote enduring, daily interfaith cooperation, to end religiously motivated violence and to create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the Earth and all living beings.

This mission is carried out through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of more than 600 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights.

On September 19th, in the Global Unity Games, the United Religions Initiative accepted the Compassion Torch from the Parliament of World Religions.  They then passed the Torch to Compassionate Louisville, a model Compassionate City four years in a row. Having the Parliament and the United Religions Initiative pass the Compassion Torch was such a great example of Global Unity in action.  Thank you to Molly Horan and Isabelle Ortega for working together to make this happen. You can watch the Torch passing in the following video of a Zoom call in which the Compassion Torch was passed.

You can find out more about the United Religions Initiative here: website, Facebook, Twitter

Giving Games Champion Spotlight: Empty Hands Music

For Day 4 of the Giving Games, we are humbled to pass the Compassion Torch from Play for Peace to Nimo Patel’s Empty Hands Music. Empty Hands Music is not your everyday organization, and its founder, Nimo, is not your everyday founder. If you haven’t heard of Nimo Patel, lean in with us, because his story, like his spirit, is one of a kind.

Nimo went from an Ivy League education to a career on Wall Street, to fame and fortunate as a Rap star on MTV. It’s a life that too many believe leads to one’s happiness. Nimo realized it wasn’t such a path, far from it. And so he dedicated himself to step away from a path of suffering toward a path of compassion and service for others. For the past five years, Nimo has been living in Gandhi’s Ashram in India serving and working alongside underprivileged communities to fulfill this purpose.

But then Nimo felt the calling to reconnect with his musical roots once again, and this time he was committed to offering his gift through the spirit of love, peace, and oneness. This offering he has named “Empty Hands Music.” Nimo chose the title ‘Empty Hands’, he says, “because of the profound wisdom we all can gain when we understand this deeper truth: that we arrive on this planet empty handed and we will all soon leave empty handed. So then, how and in what spirit do we want to spend the time in between?”

Watch the backstory with Nimo

The Empty Hands album by Nimo is a free gift to the world. You can download the full 10-track labor-of-love here for free! Allow the songs of love to embrace your heart, mind and soul!

Nemo is clearly a Champion of Compassion, and a humble one at that. Thank you for being a conduit of generosity of compassion through your service and gifts.

Giving Games Champion Spotlight: United Nations – Department of Public Information

For Day 2 of the Giving Games, we are deeply thankful to pass the Compassion Torch from #GivingTuesday to Monica Willard, the United Religion’s Initiative of the United Nations Department of Public Information. With the generous guidance of Monica Willard, the UN has provided continuous support for the Compassion Games from its inception.un_logo_blue_1024

The Department of Public Information (DPI) was established in 1946 by a General Assembly resolution to promote global awareness and understanding of the work of the United Nations. DPI pursues this goal through media of all forms, from radio, television, print, the Internet, video-conferencing and many others. DPI’s goal to partner with diverse audiences as it builds support for peace, economic development, and human rights around the world make it an important and powerful ally for the Compassion Games.

Our dear friend, Monica, works closely with the International Day of Peace, a UN initiative that provided the ceremonious end date for the Global Unity Games on September 21st. It is with the Global Unity Games that Mrs. Willard first began her partnership with Compassion Games. For over three years, Monica and her community in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania have participated in the Games, with thousands of volunteers from URI and her local community serving countless members of their community and world.

Monica and UNDPI are extraordinary Champions of Compassion, and very bright lights for our world. It is for this reason we celebrate our partnership and friendship with them by passing them the Compassion Torch. Game on!

You can learn more about DPI here. Learn more about URI here.