Stories for Education – Schools

These are news posts that pertain to bringing The Games into Education and Schools.

Ms. Lia Mandelbaum and a Compassionate Uprising

One of the great joys of organizing the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest is meeting remarkable people who take the Games and do truly amazing things. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Lia Mandelbaum, a writer for the Jewish Journal and a resounding Champion of Compassion.

The following interview with Lia is organized into short segments highlighting some of the incredible things she was able to accomplish with the Games. (The complete interview is available at the bottom of this article.)

How Lia Got Involved with the Compassion Games and the Games in Prison [1:39]

Lia’s path first crossed with the Compassion Games when she took on the assignment of writing about them for the Jewish Journal. Her article got the attention of Shayna Lester, an interfaith minister who brought the Compassion Games into a prison in California. Shanya asked Lia to help get the word out about the remarkable outcome of hosting the Compassion Games in a women’s prison. During the 11 days of the Annual Compassion Games, 4,600 acts of compassion had been committed without the occurrence of a single act of violence. Lia went on to learn how the Games were used in the prison with a set of remarkable tactics to bring them life. For example, the head gang leaders took on the role of “Compassion Ambassadors”, making it okay for others to show compassion without it being held against them. Over those 11 days, the Games helped transform the entire culture of the prison. As Lia states in this segment: “When you treat people like human beings they can rise to the occasion, even people that you totally doubt.”

How Lia Brought the Games to Roybal High School in Pico-Union Los Angeles [0:37]

Lia went on to write her masters thesis on the impact of the Compassion Games in prison (Read: A Case Study on the Compassion Games) and brought the Compassion Games to the high school where she worked as a teacher and therapist. Lia shared the article she wrote with her supervisor, a psychiatric social worker. Her supervisor didn’t even finish reading the article before she knew she wanted to bring the Games to the high school because of their culture changing capabilities: “If this can transform a prison community, it can absolutely help our community,” she said.

Its Not Always Easy to Show Compassion [0:28]

Yet, this is not just any high school. The Edward R. Roybal High School is in the Pico Union area of Los Angeles, which has the highest concentration of gang activity in LA. They are doing remarkable things to respond to these challenges. As Lia describes in the talk: “the youth have difficult hardships” and showing compassion is risky and can be perceived as a weakness; they need to have “rough edges” just to survive and so cultivating compassion is often not an “easy, breezy thing to bring about.”

The Games Were a Student-Led Initiative [0:26]

With a new orientation toward the importance and power of compassion, they shifted into community organizing mode and the student government formed a committee committed to bringing the Games to the school. By engaging student government the initiative was student led. They appointed Compassion Ambassadors to help spread the word. They organized a Compassion Rush, a Compassion Pledge, and a Gratitude Wall where they shared acts of kindness and caring that was taking place around the campus.

Understanding and Communicating about Compassion is Challenging [0:43]

She explains that they hit a wall when it came to understanding what compassion is. They decided to bring in presenters to help make the case for compassion and have discussions in the classroom about what compassion is. They went into the classes to ask: “What does compassion mean to you? Why does it have value?  Why put effort into it?”

Students Discuss the Shame Associated with Having Family Members in Prison [0:53]

In the discussions they uncovered the difficulty students had in understanding compassion and the great deal of shame around family members being incarcerated.  In response to these challenges, they invited a civil litigator to join them and talk about the need for a more compassionate criminal justice system, and how it was possible to be incarcerated in a way that is humanizing and not dehumanizing. Lia said “I watched as he would talk about people getting incarcerated in such a humane way and the kids, their faces softened, because that’s not a message they hear all the time.”

Music: The Unexpected Doorway for Males to Share Their Feelings [1:29]

Not surprisingly, male students had a difficult time opening up to express their emotions and experiences. There is one student that she describes as having “so much feeling inside but being so afraid to show it”.  Lia discovered that when they listened to music together, this became a safe way for him to show his feelings; she explains that Johnny Cash’s music in particular “opened a door for him and gave him permission to share his deepest pain and anguish”.  So they brought in individuals from the music industry who shared the meaning of lyrics from different musical artists including Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Sly and the Family Stone, and others. They focused on lyrics that brought out compassion, hope, and solidarity. She reports that the males participated the most in sharing their feelings and experiences with the help of music, which led to the males “wearing their feelings on the outside.”

Traditional Enemies Working Together Was a Shock to the Students [0:45]

They brought in leaders from the Muslim and from the Jewish community to offer an intro to Islam and Judaism through the lens of compassion. She reports that kids could not believe that so called “enemies” were standing next to each other in solidarity and sharing the importance of compassion. Lia said “These kids who are around a lot of gang violence,  they could not wrap their head around a muslim and a jew standing next to each other peacefully and in solidarity, and with such kinship… it just threw the kids off.”

Educating Oneself as a Form of Self-Compassion [0:14]

In the school there is a group called the 9+. These are youth that have to repeat the ninth-grade sometimes multiple times. They brought in former 9+ students who went on to complete high school and even graduate college. The 9+ graduates advised the students that completing high school and going to college was a form of self-compassion.

Dealing with Bullying by Understanding Others as Coming from a Place of Pain [1:11]

Another speaker shared the importance of having compassion for others.  They spoke about when people come at you with anger and hostility to take a pause and understand that they are hurting and “coming from a place of pain”. To learn this, they explained, you can better cope with confrontation and bullying by not personalizing it.

Why the Compassion Games are so Meaningful to Lia [0:23]

Lia stated that “[The Games] put you in a whole other zone when compassion is at the forefront of your head and you’re trying to hold integrity to the mission and you’re really looking at your actions and your words, and, you know, it’s just powerful.” These are great examples of how a community can use the Compassion Games to ignite engagement through competitive altruism, strengthen and bring out what’s already present and working, create an engaging environment for reporting and reflecting, and using the point system as a framework for measuring and building collective capacity.

The Best Measure that the Compassion Games made a Lasting Impact [1:31]

Lia talks about challenges to bringing compassion into a difficult environment. One of the clearest signs that the Compassion Games made a huge difference at the high school was in the following year. Even though the students who organized the Games were no longer at the school, the school hosted the Compassion Games again and plan to continue in the future.  Thank you Lia for being such a Champion of Compassion!

Listen to her complete talk here:

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.22.33 AM

Being Human Ain’t Easy: Unexpected Lessons from His Holiness the 17th Karmapa

We surely can’t complain about the mystery and thrill of being alive. Yet, regardless of one’s walk of life, it just isn’t easy being human.

downloadLike the tilted spinning of the Earth traveling through the Milky Way, having balance in one moment does not necessarily mean we will have it in the next. Life is messy. We are each challenged by the struggles of maintaining harmony in our relationships, by the incessant demand of finances and making a living, and of nurturing the physical and mental health of ourselves and those we love. We each desire meaning, belonging, and purpose in our lives.

These challenges in life, in their various forms and magnitudes, are a given. It is how we respond – not react – to life’s challenges that truly matter, transmuting them into all the more reason to love harder and be more compassionate toward others and toward ourselves, knowing we all suffer in one way or another.

Unfortunately, this is far easier to say and know than to do.Karmapa Image

Which is perhaps why thousands of people flocked like weary birds to Seattle Center on May 9th, to receive a drink of the cool, spring water that is the presence and teachings of His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. He is, after all, a shining example of compassion and love in a tumultuous world.

What we got, however, was something far different than expected. Something, I believe, that was far better.

First of all, His Holiness had a cold, leaving him visibly and admittedly drained. To top this off, Seattle was the last stop on his journey of events over the course of two months, which was extremely exhausting in itself.

Buddha or not, I thought, the Karmapa is human. This lesson, which had only just begun, was the greatest gift he could have given us. Here was a moment for us to have deep compassion for him. Curiously and unexpectedly, it wasn’t the last.

After forty-five minutes of his teachings about compassion from the Kagyu Buddhist tradition, a young panel of change-makers sat on stage with the Karmapa and asked him, each in turn, some very difficult questions.

One such question was from Jennifer Hotes, a young woman activist from a nonprofit called Love City Love which creates open spaces for artists to create art in community for one another for the sake of joy. She asked him:

“How do we have fun without using it as a way to escape from the suffering in the world, as a way to remind ourselves of the positive things in life?” She paused, almost forgetting to ask him the next part of her question with a sheepish but twinkling smile on her face. “And also, what do you do to have fun?”

The moderator quickly finished translating her question with a smile himself, and the Karmapa’s eyebrows went up in surprise. He put his hand to his chin in deep thought. He was, as clear as day, stumped! The audience laughed with him. To our surprise, here is some of what he said:

“It’s important in life, to not take things so seriously all the time. It’s important to remember to enjoy life to celebrate the good things… I remember when I was a young boy, my family would celebrate Losar, the Lunar New Year of Tibet. I remember that I would get so excited the day before that my siblings and I couldn’t sleep… We still honor Losar, but now I must follow set itineraries, the day is full of ceremony and ritual that I must fulfill. Sometimes I wish I could just lay in bed and sleep through it… As for what I do for fun now, I don’t know. I’ll have to give this more thought.”

As the last words of this were translated, the Karmapa unexpectedly began to speak again, which was translated to us once more:

“I really enjoy music and the arts. When I have time, I like to paint and make music. The arts are very important. That is all I have to say on the matter.”

It was an astonishing revelation, I think, for all of us. Quite simply, the Karmapa didn’t experience much of what it was like to simply play, to have fun.

This appears to be a common issue for everyday people and change-makers alike. We often feel guilty regarding the moments of joy in our lives when we know there is so much suffering in the world. Yet, play is an essential human need that allows us to connect with one another, building authentic relationships that can lead to sustainable action rooted in compassion. When we don’t take time to honor what is good and beautiful in life, we burn out. We lose our sense of wholeness. We actually become less effective at making positive change happen.

It is actually this concern that lead to us being invited to the event with the Karmapa at Seattle Center, to represent the CompassionCompassion Games Updated Logo for Shift Network Games and teach attendees about it. The Compassion Games are a social tool designed to ignite, amplify, and catalyze compassionate action in communities around the world. By infusing the power of playfulness and compassion with the fun of friendly competition, the Games offer a unique way to strive together to serve each other, our own personal well-being, and the Earth.

Experiencing the challenges that nonprofits face with finding financial support to grow and scale, the struggle can sometimes lead us to doubt the importance of play and the idea that you can use play to build the capacity of communities to be more compassionate. As we are currently fundraising to expand the Games to respond to a growing demand, this weighed heavily on our team’s hearts that evening.

Yet, once we began to speak with people about the Games, most people went from curiosity or confusion to an understanding grin on their face. “Team Seattle needs your help!” we would say humorously with feigned exacerbation. “The Mayor of Louisville said they were the most compassionate city in the world and would be so until kindliving1-300x245proven otherwise! In fact, he said they were so compassionate they would come here and help us beat them!” At that point, most people usually laughed and wanted to learn more. Obviously, no one can lose the Compassion Games, though they seem to tap into an innate human desire to want to play together, to do the heavy lifting in the world with a lighter heart. By doing so, the Games can help raise the capacity of compassion in our lives and our communities in ways we otherwise wouldn’t feel inspired, or believe were possible, to do.

This may be why the Compassion Games worked so well in a women’s prison, where for the first time ever there were eleven days of no violence while the Games were played. Or why they are so excitingly received in educational settings, where children can “cooperate to compete” to make their schools safer and warmer places to learn, and to experience compassion first hand.

We were feeling quite relieved about the reception of the Compassion Games at the Karmapa’s event, but then it happened: one of the change-makers of the panel on-stage, a young lady named Rekeda Roundtree from Roots of Empathy, asked another challenging question:

“It seems that competition is at the root of many social ills that we as a society face today. Can you tell us how competition creates barriers between people, how it is a separation that prevents us from connecting compassionately together to collaborate and make change?”

kl-stargirl02i-fish0814As an organization that aimed to use friendly competition as a kind of “culture hack” to get people excited about making a difference (the latin root for competition – “competere” – means “to strive together”), this question made our hearts skip a beat. Our team looked at each other with playfully worried smiles, holding our breath as we anticipated what would come next. Depending on his answer, we would either proudly stay, or try to make a break for it before mobs of outraged compassion-seekers descended on us.

The moderator asked if it was okay to inverse the question. He asked, “So, can I ask the Karmapa if fishastroheartpplcompetition can be used in a way that is positive, as a way to make positive social change?” The young woman, once again, reiterated her original question regarding competition’s more negative side, how it enhances social ills rather than alleviates them.

Here is what the Karmapa said:

“Competition is very pervasive in the world today, connected to many of the activities that lead to problems. Even when people are not engaged in competition – competition with distinct victors or those who are defeated – people may bring the energy of competition to their everyday lives, like in an argument and the need to be right at the expense of others. But, I think competition can have a positive aspect to it as well. Competition can be used as a motivator to better oneself, not to beat others but to compete with oneself to become more compassionate. In this way competition can be used to make oneself stand out, but in a positive way.”

All at once, we let our breaths out in a sigh of relief and laughed; there wouldn’t be any compassion mobs coming for us today. As it turns out, even the Karmapa believed that friendly competition could be used as a social force for good.

Once, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama said this when asked a similar question:

“Competition used to put others down: not good. Competition used to bring everybody up: that is very good.”

We were grateful that His Holiness the 17th Karmapa shared with us his down-to-earth human side. It allowed us, I believe, to see ourselves in him, not as an idol or state of perfection that we are not, but as a person like the rest of us. It made room for greater compassion toward ourselves in our own hardships, mishaps, and imperfections. Life is full of them, that’s for certain, but it’s easier to know that we are in them together, that even our suffering profoundly connects us all.

As for play and having fun: may we all enjoy the gifts that life has to offer us more often, not as an escape, but as a celebration to rejuvenate our spirits. And may the Compassion Games touch countless more lives by reminding us how to change the world by having fun, by reminding us of the child within us all.

We each desire to see the world become a more kind, safe, and loving place. It is much more rewarding when we do this together.

metrodetroit3

Story Written by Compassion Games Storyteller Joey Crotty
with support from Compassion Games Team Members Lesa Walker, Sande Hart, and Jon Ramer

3.7 Million March: An Urgent Call to Rally for Unity & Peace

Dear Friends and Allies of Compassion,

The world is stirring. Every now and then an event occurs that shocks us, and with it appears an opening for something new to Paris Ralliesemerge. Right now, we are at such a moment. The 3.7 million people who marched in the streets of France – who locked arms with our world’s
leaders – are what French officials are saying was the largest street demonstration in the country’s history. And they weren’t protesting the attacks they were rallying for unity.

“I’m fed up with all the hatred in the world. I can’t stand people hating each other. More than just free expression, I want people to live together and to accept each other, even if they are different,” said Edith Gaudin, a teacher in Paris.

More than ever we need to create and live in cultures of compassion that revolutionoftheheart7-fish0212take us outside our comfort zones, into our stretch zones, and allow us to experience empathy and compassion directly. In fact, this is what the Compassion Games were created for, and it just so happens that this year the Compassion Games is partnering with UN sponsored World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) (February 1st -7th).

One of the world leaders who marched on the streets in Paris is King Abdullah II from Jordan. In 2010, the King proposed a World Interfaith Harmony Week to the UN, a week “when all interfaith groups and other groups of goodwill can show the world what a powerful movement they are.” The UN unanimously approved, and now each year the first week of February is aimed to promote harmony and collaboration between people of all faiths (and none).

kl-stargirl01a-fish0814We are partnering with faith, interfaith and Indigenous leaders to light a spark of creativity and innovation, to inspire groups around the world to get engaged and to make the good we are capable of known. This includes a seven day Compassion Games “coopetition” starting February 1st, a 10-Year Solar Challenge called for by First Nations, and $50,000 in prize money sponsored by King Abdullah II.

Let’s not retreat from this moment. Let’s lean forward, open our hearts and hands and come together in unprecedented, unified solidarity and action!

 

1. Learn more about the World Interfaith Harmony
Week Coopetition here

2. Read more about the WIHW Prize Monies for participating groups here

3. Spread the word! Share this story to challenge family, friends, and your communities to play in World Interfaith Harmony Week. Experience the joy of building solidarity, cooperation, and bridges of peace and harmony!

At this unique moment in time we need to clarify and reaffirm religion’s role in our lives as a beacon of hope. Religion at its best is kl-stargirl02i-fish0814a hearth for the human spirit. In its myriad of expressions, religion can help us connect with something greater than ourselves, to encourage us to reach out and to get to know the “others” in our lives. It inspires us to serve all people for the greater good that exists within and among all of us, to find love and compassion in the seemingly most improbable places, in places where once there was only hate. Yet these are the places most desperate for peace.

Let us be that peace.

In Fierce Unity and Compassion,

Compassion Games International
World Interfaith Harmony Week
URI (United Religions Initiative)
The Guibord Center
Interfaith Youth Core
Dalai Lama Fellows
Compassionate Seattle
NICO (Northwest Interfaith Community Outreach)
Silicon Valley Interreligious Council
Four Worlds International Institute
Compassionate California
I am Jerusalem
S.A.R.A.H. (Spiritual and Religious Alliance for Hope)
Scarboro Missions
First Nations Solar
Interfaith Council of Central Orange County

Compassionate Schools Play Compassion Games!

The past year of 2014 was a breakthrough year at Compassion Games International. Besides the extraordinary growth from 19 to 159 Teams in just one year, the development of the Leagues burst the gates right off any barriers of limitations that we could have dreamt of. And leading the way? None less than the new Education and Schools League.

Two exceptional educators stepped up to coordinate this league: Rahbin Shyne and Lia Mandelbaum. They each bring with them a vast array of skills and inspiring ideas to help schools bring the Compassion Games into their classrooms.

Long before we met Rahbin – a Compassionate activist and teacher at Reid High School in Long Beach, California – she had written a number of books on compassion, even one coincidentally entitled “Compassion Game, 10 Days of Compassion, Quick and Easy On-Line Actions to Better Our World.”  It was only a matter of time that our paths would meet! And we are eternally grateful for that.

As a seasoned educator, Rahbin brought to the Games tested and practical lesson plans and prepared the Teachers Compassion Games Guide.

photo-66It was Lia who we can credit for first showing us how possible, even critical the Compassion Games are on a school campus. Remarkably, Lia – who is also a writer for The Jewish Journal – first heard about the Games when she wrote a story about them being played in a women’s prison in California. Since she was an intern social worker at Roybal Learning Center in downtown Los Angeles at the time, she immediately identified the power of the Games and what they could bring to the culture of her campus.

She surprised herself with resounding results.

It was Lia’s Supervisor – Cherie Hudson at Roybal who embraced the concept of the games. Cherie said, “The Games are all about strengthening connections and making a positive impact on the world through acts of kindness. As a school social worker, I wholeheartedly believe in the value of human relationships and the interconnectedness of all people, so the Compassion Games felt like a perfect fit between the core values of my profession and the needs of our community for healing and safety”.

Announcements were made over the school intercom, during meetings, and in classrooms. Packets were created to explain the Games and then distributed to the teachers. Lia and Cherie wanted to be sure that not only the students played the Games but that the teachers, staff, and even the maintenance crew played too. Lia devised a clever way to engage parents as well, empowering them to “catch” their child being compassionate and sending in a “Titan Token” to be added to their team’s tally.  In this stroke of brilliance, Lia found a bridge from the campus to the home. Now, even siblings and even neighbors will benefit from the Compassion Games as compassion blooms out through their communities.

Lia also brought in speakers including the L.A. Galaxy Soccer star Omar Gonzalez. Gonzalez talked to the students about the courage it Omar_Gonzaleztakes to be compassionate, helping to motivate and inspire the young students there. Here is the link to the Time Warner Sports Spanish news segment with Omar visiting Roybal (The clip begins at 1 minute and 30 seconds!)

Omar Gonzalez visits Roybal:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW6sqMHxt6M

As soon as the Education League was initiated we began to immediately hear from teachers, each requesting we set aside a period of play for them that was later in the year than the annual September 11th start of the Compassion Games. Considering they had just gotten back to school in September, we couldn’t help but understand the rationale behind the suggestion, and we said “Of course!” The Education and Schools League now starts its participation in the Compassion Games in October, kicking off the school year in a blaze of compassion in action.

Compassion Games Excitedly Received on Campuses in Los Angeles

Thanks to Cherie and Lia, the Compassion Games have since been embraced by the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health who have introduced us to each of the area organizers who place representatives in each school throughout the LA county. Subsequently, we been invited to present to all of the representatives themselves.  After presenting alongside Lia and Rahbin at a number of the meetings, Head Compassion Games Coach Sande Hart says, “I have introduced the Games to many groups over the past year, but never have I experienced a sense of enthusiasm as great as it’s been with educators. Heads were constantly nodding in excitement about the Games, and even tears were shed! It’s clear the Games bring a creative alternative solution infused with hope to the campus culture where it is so desperately needed today.”

Meanwhile, in Seattle, The Compassionate Schools Network was birthed

schools-networkThe emerging Compassionate School Movement is in large part led by Scarlett Lewis, founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. Compassion Games, Charter for Compassion, and Compassionate Seattle hosted a conference in August called “Building the Compassionate Schools Movement: From Sandy Hook to Seattle,” igniting conversation and joint action to bring compassion into schools, to teach emotional wellness and whole person development, teacher and administrator interconnectivity and engagement, and to use compassion to propel students’ success for learning and life.

We are both honored and proud to be a founding member of the Compassionate Schools Network. On September 15, 2014 this new social collaborative network was launched. The Compassionate Schools Network is a free online community and resource-sharing platform for students, parents, school staff, and community members.

Click here to learn more about the Compassionate Schools Movement and Network, including co-creative ideas for bringing Compassion into the classroom, and how your school can affirm the Charter for Compassion!

Click here for the full press release of the Compassionate Schools Network launch: http://bit.ly/Zn9pFQ

North Thurston County School District Brings the Light!

558112_453974094671300_819099736_nThis year also marks the initiation of Washington State’s North Thurston County Public School District’s participation in the Compassion Games, They stand in solidarity with the emergence of the “Compassionate Schools Movement”, and they aren’t alone. Over 50 schools have committed themselves to participating in the Compassion Games as a way to bring compassion and the Golden Rule to schools through the competitive spirit of giving and cooperation.

Currency of the Heart: Coins of Compassion Introduced to Schools in Spirit of the Games

In an inspiring feat of creativity for the Games, North Thurston County – led by Compassionate Schools advocate Superintendent Raj Manhas –  formed a currency for their district called the “Coins of Compassion.” Unlike any currency you’ve ever heard of, over 20,000 of these coins have been given to principals and other leaders within the district, which are then given to anyone who commits an act of kindness or compassion. Paying it forward is the ultimate measure of economic success in a compassionate society. By the end of the Compassion Games, it is not the goal to have the most of these coins, but rather to give and receive them as much as possible. It is, effectively, a game of acknowledging others and their goodness, and in return, also being seen for the good we each give to others. Coins of Compassion are a living economy of the heart and they’re now in the hands of kids who are learning to give and receive them to and from each other.

We know the Compassion Games are changing what it means to compete, and now it’s clear a new value system of currency has emerged; and who knows where it will go?

While all leagues come together to play in the Global Games Coopetition, Schools can also play from Oct 15th to the 25th, closing on National “Make A Difference Day.” In 2015, educators will be treated to a series of conference calls with speakers and both plenty of time and resources to ensure their success in the next Education League Games. Rahbin’s goal is to see 150 Teams (classrooms, schools, or school districts) participate in the Compassion Games in 2015.

Currency of the Heart: Coins of Compassion in Compassionate Schools

(Above art, “Pocket Change”, and the piece below, are by the amazing group 6 Degrees of Creativity who are making this magnificent art for the Compassion Games.)

Compassionate Schools Network logoThis week marks the beginning of North Thurston County in Washington state Public School District’s participation in the Compassion Games as part of the “Compassionate Schools Movement”, and they aren’t alone. This year, over 50 schools have committed themselves to participating in the Compassion Games as a way to bring compassion and the Golden Rule to schools through the competitive spirit of giving and cooperation.

The demand for the Games in schools, in fact, gave rise to an entirely new Education league! Two exceptional educators have stepped up to coordinate this league; Rhaybin Shein and Lia Mandelbaum. Here’s their presentation, full of ideas, to help schools bring the Compassion Games into their classrooms.  And here’s a link to the presentation they prepared to help educators introduce the compassion games into schools.

In an inspiring feat of creativity for the Games, North Thurston County – led by Compassionate Schools advocate Superintendent Raj Manhas – formed a currency for their district called the “Coins of Compassion.” It is unlike any currency you’ve ever heard of. Over 20,000 of these coins have been given to principals and other leaders within the district, which are then given to anyone who commits an act of kindness or compassion. Paying it forward is the ultimate measure of economic success in a compassionate society. By the end of the Compassion Games, it is not the goal to have the most of these coins, but rather to give and receive them as much as possible. It is, effectively, a game of acknowledging others and their goodness, and in return, also being seen for the good we each give to others. Coins of Compassions are a living economy of the heart and they’re now in the hands of kids who are learning to give and receive them to and from each other.

The Compassion Games will be played during 9/11 to 9/21 in schools, and again in October from the 15th to the 25th at the request of educators seeking more time to prepare in the beginning of the school year.  So, if you were unable to form a team in your school for this year’s September games you can still get in on the fun and learning for October. Sign up here.

The emerging Compassionate School Movement is in large part led by Scarlett Lewis, founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Foundation. Compassion Games, Charter for Compassion, and Compassionate Seattle hosted a conference 10626504_707342982667742_3748807769131385059_nin August called “Building the Compassionate Schools Movement: From Sandy Hook to Seattle,” igniting conversation and joint action to bring compassion into schools, to teach emotional wellness and whole person development, teacher and administrator interconnectivity and engagement, and to use compassion to propel student’s success for learning and life.

We are both honored and proud to be a founding member of the Compassionate Schools Network. Today, September 15th, is the launch of this new social collaborative network. The Compassionate Schools Network is a free online community and resource-sharing platform for students, parents, school staff, and community members.

Click here to learn more about the Compassionate Schools Movement and Network, including co-creative ideas for bringing Compassion into the classroom, and how your school can affirm the Charter for Compassion!

Click here for the full press release of the Compassionate Schools Network launch: http://bit.ly/Zn9pFQ

Help plant a garden of compassion at Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club

By Jon Ramer

 

The Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club needs you.

Dedicated school chef Patrice Freeman shops the sales to feed her hungry troupe, but she has a dream, to feed her boys and girls with fresh fruit and vegetables from a bountiful school garden. She has the space, and she’s looking for donations of soil and the materials to create eight to 10 large planters for the garden and fill them with rich planting soil for the 2013 spring and summer.

The club is budget challenged. On the day of our visit, we dropped off a ream of copy paper because the club had run out. But it serves a great need. And now it needs our help.

 

Volunteers nurture compassion throughout community

 

 Submitted by Kizzie Funkhouser

We are fellow volunteers that serve those in need,

Farmers of hope, we’re planting the seeds –

Weeding out obstacles when lives’ pathways are blocked.

Standing together, our diverse strands, woven to stalks

Of goodwill and compassion we nurture,

Strong – rooted in belief that every life matters

That dignity and respect have no boundaries or status.

We are young, we are old, yet we are the same

Our vision not of the chore, we see the faces, know names,

Know the look of appreciation and the sighs of relief,

Volunteers motivate, because we believe –

That making a difference is within our reach.

We are driven in faith that we can improve,

The quality of one’s life, it touches us too.

We are volunteers, we just are, we just do.

The man in the store without help, he can’t read the labels

But can cook up a meal befit the KINGS table,

There’s a woman independent but can no longer drive

Her eyes, they light up when you simply arrive.

Volunteers are a blessing, they just are, they just do.

 

Here are a few of our stories that represent the essence of volunteerism.

We extend our thanks to all volunteers whose compassion always gets the gold.

Let the games begin.

Gifts of Compassion from Volunteer Chore Services volunteers

Three stories

Living alone at age 90 is a challenge. With a limited income and her nearest family in Vancouver, she counts on VCS volunteers to help keep the home in shape, take her grocery shopping and to medical appointments. One volunteer visits weekly to vacuum, mop, fold laundry and change bed linens.

At 84, she is partially sighted and living with arthritis. She confided her fear that her yard would be “what sends me to a nursing home, because they say I can’t take care of it.” VCS volunteers totaled 100 hours that summer clearing her yard of weeds, blackberries, and debris, so that she is able to walk into her garden again.

 Living with stage 4 cancer and fighting through chemo treatments leaves him with very little energy. With the rainy season nearing, he knew the gutters needed cleaning but could no longer safely climb a ladder. VCS volunteers cleaned the gutters, swept off the roof and repaired some damaged spouts. He said they did a fabulous job and was so appreciative, not just for the work completed, but for the kind spirit in which it was offered.

 Volunteer Chore Services volunteers provided an average of 3,972 hours of assistance each month throughout King County last year, helping with housework, laundry, shopping, transportation, minor home repair and yard work.

 

 

Looking for compassionate solutions to gun violence

Submitted by What’s Good 206

Why should you care about gun violence?

“It has no race, no creed, no age barriers. If it hasn’t affected you yet, it will if it continues.”

Stark words from one man interviewed in this array of community voices recorded at an anti-gun violence rally at Seattle’s Martin Luther King Memorial Park.

“It needs to be talked about among your family and friends,” says a police officer.

“We have to work to get the community out to say we’ve had enough of the gun violence and to mentor young men and older men and women on how to go through the healing process of having a son been a perpetrator and wrap our arms around them and say there’s healing,” says a pastor.

Listen closely. What you are hearing are solutions.

 

What’s Good 206 is Seattle’s source for youth driven media and information.

Smarter & more compassionate schools? Yes we can!


Submitted by What’s Good 206

Build more compassionate schools by combining students of different ages in the classroom, and fully integrating schools, says a 17-year-old high school senior who has written a book advocating overhaul of the educational system.

In this video produced by What’s Good 206, Nikhil Goyal also advises educators to start treating students respectfully and invite them into the conversation about their education.

Directed by
AUSTIN WILLIAMS
Hosted by
STARLA SAMPACO
Edited by
ALYSSA PIRAINO

Operation Compassion: How to radically change the story

Submitted by What’s Good 206

It was a chance encounter with a homeless man that that led University of Washington student Daniel Nguyen to start Operation Compassion last year.
It began when an apparently homeless man, a regular Daniel had seen for weeks, boarded his bus and asked him for spare change.
Like many of us, Daniel’s first response was, “I don’t have any.”
But it didn’t end there, and what Daniel Nguyen found out about Reggie, the man on the bus, blew away his preconceived notions of community and launched him on a life-changing crusade.
Warning: this story might do the same for you.

The spotlight is on Daniel Nguyen, a UW sophomore who started operation compassion.
Hosted by Kumar Nessenbaum
Directed by Austin Williams
Edited by Austin Williams & Alyssa Piraino
Camera operator: Austin Williams & Alyssa Piraino

For more information on What’s Good 206, see the website www.whatsgood206.org
Daniel’s blog can be found here.