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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.

2014 Leaderboard Results!

Ta Da!! We have updated the 2014 Leaderboard with the numbers for this years games. We’ve gone through every report that was submitted for every day of the Games. Although the whole spirit of the Compassion Games is playful and fun, we take your efforts to report on your acts of compassion seriously. Of course, whoever played in the games and did or didn’t report was a winner, and with that said let’s get into the numbers.

When accountants deliver “the numbers” they usually also prepare a “note” to help explain what the numbers mean. Consider this post that kind note. If you look at the leaderboard you’ll see that the teams are grouped by leagues and sorted alphabetically. Each of the columns are reviewed below:

Team names and #hashtags

We introduced hashtags this year as a way to apply a common name across all website and social media platforms.  In the process of reviewing the reports we made our best efforts to identify reports and associate them with the teams they belong to. Everyone didn’t use the same team name or #hashtag name to refer to a particular team. We did our best to cross reference and connect team wherever possible.

Number of reports

There were people who submitted reports with team names (or #hashtag) but didn’t put in any numbers. In these cases, at a minimum we put in “one volunteer and one person served” logic, being that the act of reporting was an act of service and the person reporting was served in the process. We made other revisions if it was obvious what the missing numbers should be.

Number of volunteers

This was straightforward. We just counted what people reported. We may not be accountants, but this was an easy one.

Number of hours

Some people reported an act of compassion that lasted 10 seconds, and others reported  actions that will last for infinity. We did allow for fractions up to a quarter of an hour. Did I mention we are not accountants? We did our best!

Money donated to local causes

This was straightforward. We just added up the amounts.

Number of people served

This is the most objective number of them all. This says a lot about the reporter. We left the numbers as they were reported. In some cases people’s compassionate act reached thousands and even millions of people. Who can disagree with that?  I sure hope it’s true. Other people were quite conservative in reporting on how many people were served. I remember last year someone said that their meditations were reaching all sentient beings for all-time! I believe that’s true, but that’s me!

Other Observations

We saw that there was an enormous amount of food raised and we didn’t have an easy way to count that. We need a column titled  “Priceless”!

There are also groups of players that self-organized to form a team and never officially signed up but played and reported as a team. This is very cool!

And then there were the amazing reports themselves. For example; check out the report on what was done in Sierra Leone where $200 was raised to get the word out and keep people informed about how to prevent the spread of Ebola. Or did you see the team that planted hundreds of pink flamingos in their neighbor’s yard to raise awareness and money for building homes in Guatemala? And of course, we hope you heard that the inmates in the California Institution for Women prison were playing for a second year, beating their personal best of 4600 points last year by exceeding their goal of 10,000 points this year! The stories go on and on.

The compassion report map is full of these kinds of experiences being shared with the world.  We’d love you to look through them and let us know about your favorites!

It is humbling and inspiring to see what we’re capable of when we come together to give of ourselves in creative ways seeking to play with compassion!

If you want to understand more about how we see the leaderboard and measuring compassion take a look at this article we wrote recently.

What’s Next?

Have your calendar handy?

October 15-25 – The Schools Games

February 1-7 – The Interfaith/Multicultural/Faith Based Games

Year-round Keep the Compassion Games alive in your life and in your community! Keep the reports coming and contribute to our Compassion Games International Facebook page. Keep the creativity flowing and broadcasted!

Compassion shared is compassion multiplied!

Here are your results! 



Wow! 2014 Games Are Behind Us, Now it’s Time to Celebrate and Share!

Wow, what an amazing closing day for this years breakthrough Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest!

As you know there were convenings happening all over the globe celebrating a world of connected communities. There were hundreds of thousands of people out in the streets in New York City for the People’s Climate March as well as thousands of gatherings in solidarity with the March, and around the world people were also celebrating the International Day of Peace and the last day of the Compassion Games. It was a day when the world gave voice to the concerns and dreams we share about our future. No one can comprehend the impact of yesterday and I don’t think we’ll ever have a day like yesterday again. Or will we?

This year’s Compassion Games were a breakthrough and we broke lots of new ground; we organized into leagues of teams that can now prepare and train all year round, we introduced new games like “Drive With Compassion” and “Compassion All-Stars“, and launched the “Sun Up Our Sanctuaries Compassion Games Solar Challenge” which will run to the end of next year’s games, as well as over a thousand people acting as Secret Agents of Compassion. We heard the first Compassion Games theme song thanks to Dina Rae Capitano, got to download the Compassion Today! app developed by Dr. Lesa Walker, and of course all the power of self-organizing and inspiring teams making contributions like the #CreativeDeed project. Clearly we are all Compassion Games champions!

While we are overjoyed with the dramatic increase in participation, what really inspires us is what people are doing and the stories they’re sharing. Thank you to those of you who took great care and time to share your experiences with us on the Report Map. We know you are all in it, not for the points, but to help heal, inspire, make your home, community, world save, kinder, more just places to live. We also know those points are important too!

We will do a thorough review and report on what the 2014 games has contributed to our Compassion Games movement. We know the games are a catalyst for collaboration and we look forward to strengthening and expanding what is emerging.

For now we wanted to clarify the timing and encourage everyone to submit whatever reports they choose to. We encourage people to keep reporting on the compassion map in the days and weeks and months to come. But, for reports to be counted and tallied on the leaderboard for this years games the reports must be submitted by midnight Wednesday PDT. We will review and tally them and our goal is to have the final numbers by 5 PM Friday.

We recently wrote a piece about the leaderboard and why we think it’s important. You can read that piece here. Remember no one can lose the compassion games and the more people play the more people win! That’s why this is so worth the time and effort to organize. Thank you so much for making the 2014 Compassion Games a great success!


Drive with Compassion – Make the Pledge!

Here’s a fun new compassion game. Drive with compassion. Invented by Team Atlanta Drive with Compassion has you make an eight point pledge to be more mindful about your driving reducing stress on yourself and others!

Why not take this challenge and report on the Compassion Map? Let us know what you discover Driving with Compassion.  Start your Compassion Engines! You can learn more here.

Grandma Turner’s Lessons

By the time I came along my grandparents had already passed from this life, but I was graced with numerous “adopted” grandparents along my path to adulthood. The one I learned the most from was my best friend Kim’s grandmother, Grandma Turner. Grandma Turner lived across the water in the town of Suquamish in a tiny house on the beach. Because we were rebellious teenagers, our parents were only too happy to drive us down to the ferry terminal in Seattle and send us off for the weekend. I learned so much from this tiny, hearty, tough little lady, but what stuck with me the most were her lessons in compassion.

On Sundays, after church, Grandma Turner would haul us off to visit nursing homes. Sometimes we brought baked goods, sometimes plants we had started or cut flowers from the garden, sometimes just our hearts and smiles, but this was not an optional activity. Being a bit shy, at first this frightened me a little, but when I saw the joy that just our presence brought to these beautiful elders, this soon became the most important and precious ritual in my young life. Grandma Turner gave me the gift of compassion for others.

alive-insideLast month I was given the honor of viewing a screening of the documentary, Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory where Michael Rossato-Bennett spends three years following Dan Cohen on his journey to share this remarkable phenomenon in which songs from a person’s past can break through the silence caused by dementia and Alzheimer’s and bring a person out of silence and isolation back into life almost instantly. It isn’t a cure, but it is absolutely magical. In the film we get to meet this woman who suffers from debilitating mental health issues that prevent her from enjoying and fully participating in life. After listening to music from her past, she comes to life, dancing and laughing, but then she stops and in a heartbreaking moment filled with tears, shares that the most difficult part of her illness is that she is unable to contribute to the world. This hit me hard when I thought about the joy I feel from expressing compassion for others. I wondered, how can we give this opportunity to others?

I recently read an article in USA Weekend (April 4-6, 2014) about the 2013 Make A Difference Day awards.( All of the honorees are to be commended, but I was most intrigued with the Escambia Charter School:

“Some of the most troubled teenagers in one of Florida’s poorest counties attend Escambia Charter School. Eighty percent of the 120 students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Many were rejected by public schools for bad behavior or grades. But on Make A Difference Day, they put others first.

Starting a month ahead, students collected or contributed 300 pounds of canned goods and snacks for a food pantry and the USO in nearby Pensacola, as well as 60 boxes of clothes for three shelters. Early on Oct. 26, 20 students, with 15 parents and teachers, organized and delivered the donations — then split into teams to do yard work for four elderly or disabled homeowners.”

This is great, but what got my attention was this, “The students were so proud,” says Principal Jerome Chisolm. “The community didn’t expect this from our kids. The kids didn’t even expect it from themselves. Helping others shows them the world doesn’t revolve around them.”

What a gift these kids were given to have this opportunity to give of themselves. It seems to me that being able to contribute, to give of one’s self without personal gain, is an important part of being a healthy, happy human being. Which brings me back to Grandma Turner. What was it that she really gave to me all those years ago? The gift of compassion for myself, for others in this world. As compassion is a deeply held value in my adult life, one that I practice daily and derive so much happiness from, I realize now that it is just as important to offer this gift to others. And this is where the Compassion Games have entered my life.

As founder Jon Ramer states, “The Compassion Games are a form of hospitality.” To me they are an offering to come play, come be a part of this amazing experience of bringing joy and love to yourself, to others and to this earth. I think Grandma Turner would be proud of this Movement, I know I am.

Alive Inside:
Music & Memory Project:



Calling All Dads: Gratitude Letters for Mothers Day – Make Everyone’s Day

We were recently contacted by Kellie Amanda Edwards from Australia, founder of Kellie has started a relay that we think is creative meaningful and fun.  We asked her to put together a blog explaining the idea and here goes!  Thank you Kellie!!


I know you have heard of Mothers Day, but have you heard of a Gratitude Letter? Better yet, have you ever given one? It is an unexpectedly uplifting experience. I gave one to an ex boss of mine and she kept it for years. It’s nice to be appreciated. And it feels pretty good doing the appreciating too!

So you can probably see where this is heading. Mothers Day is coming  up  – what a perfect time to ask your children to tell their mother, in their own words, what they love and appreciate about her. How about they write it in a letter she can keep? You can help them if they are too young to write. My husband did.

Here comes the best part. Then you have them read it aloud to her – with your help if they need it – and really make her day. Everyone in the family has all the positive emotions buzzing through their bodies and brains (read on to see why that is SUCH a good thing for everybody).

Then we will make it even better. If you can record the reading and the reaction, take a photo of them hugging and the end and a photo of the letter, pretty quickly you have the ingredients of a heart warming video that we will post on our YouTube channel with others – and you can all watch it and send it to your family and friends.

Gratitude is one of life’s most vitalising ingredients. Research has shown that practicing gratitude can have dramatic and lasting effects in a person’s life. Beyond these benefits, it feels good in its own right to appreciate that we have been the beneficiary of freely an generously bestowed kindness. After I have convinced you of the science behind gratitude and how good it is for the whole family to be involved, you can check out the video we made from the letter my children surprised me with:


  • Stronger immune systems
  • Less bothered by aches and pains
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Grateful people exercise more and take better care of their health
  • Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking


  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • More alert, alive, and awake
  • More joy and pleasure
  • More optimism and happiness

Social Benefits: grateful people are…..

  • More helpful, generous, and compassionate
  • More forgiving
  • More outgoing
  • Feel less lonely and isolated

(adapted from Robert Emmons, why gratitude is good)

It can relieve suffering, heal old hurts, and opens us up with feelings of warmth and tenderness

It has one of the strongest links to mental health and life satisfaction of any personality trait

Grateful people experience more of the other positive emotions like joy, enthusiasm, love, optimism and it also protects us against other more destructive emotions like envy, resentment, greed and bitterness.

It nourishes a fundamentally affirming life stance – it is saying YES to life

And it helps us cope with stress, both in everyday life and trauma, recover more quickly from illness and enjoy more robust health AND sleep better

AND it can be cultivated – in an enjoyable way. By writing a gratitude letter for example!

Here’s my sweet letter:

So go on, Make Mum’s Day and make the world a kinder place, one Mom at a time.

Join us at

Proudly sponsored by

2013 Compassion Games: Looking back & forward

What was the result when inmates at the California Institution for Women competed in last year’s annual Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest?

For the first time in the institution’s history, 11 days went by without a single violent incident.

That’s radical.

So be prepared for more amazing results when the 2014 games return next September. We’re already making plans!

The 2013 Compassion Games were a worldwide “co-opetition” that ran Sept. 11-21. Players chose to do random acts of kindness, or signed up to be a Secret Agent of Compassion and receive a daily mission. Some contributed to a service project organized by a business, organization or neighborhood, or created their own games.

Activities were recorded when players submitted a quick online report. During the 11-day Gift Giving Festival — the “cooperation to compete” — there were over 1,200 “incidents” of compassionate action submitted to the Compassion Map.

Here is a snapshot of the total results for the teams that participated in the 2013 Compassion Games.

The 2013 games included individual players from 28 countries. There were 19 community teams who organized local games in 4 countries – the United States, Canada, Sweden, and India.

The results were impressive.

  • “Having lived through this new model of responding under stress with compassion; I am capable of adapting a new response. Compassion can become my “default.” What an awesome gift!” – from an organizer who helped produce the games

  • “Carroll University is interested in creating a study of compassionate acts, using the Compassion Map to track, and comparing the data to the criminal acts in the city. Also, partnerships in the city are emerging and planning for the Compassionate Milwaukee declaration have begun to unfold.”

  • “Kindness curriculum in schools, getting compassion games at Rikers Island, getting law firms with offices in multiple cities to play.”

And the California women’s prison?

“Inmates and staff want to continue each year but more importantly they are now looking for a way to keep the energies alive all year. Hopefully, with the support of the administration, that will happen.”

New for the 2014 games

Already, plans are being made for the 2014 games, organized as an 11-day Gift Giving Festival inspired by the Potlatch from the Pacific Northwest and the Giveaways from The Northern Plains Tribes. The Games take place Sept. 11-21.

We will be introducing leagues as a way to organize the Games. There will be leagues for cities, schools, hospitals, service organizations, cultural groups, tribes, and other groups.

We’re planning Compassion Relays to mobilize the world for compassion and herald the Compassion Games. The Compassion Torch symbolizes life, truth, and the regenerative power of the flame of the heart. The Compassion Torch will be used in the Compassion Relays, and spreads the light of compassion which burns without interruption during the Compassion Games.

Compassion Relay participants commit to carry the torch for a week and report on example of compassion in action they participate in or witness. Torch carriers pass on the Compassion Torch to others in their community.

So stay tuned for updates and to hear about ways to get involved. We’re excited to be moving forward on the next year of the Compassion Games.

How to Submit Activity Information (and Get Points) During the Games

Dear Compassion Gamers,

The Games have begun and now it is time to put our compassion and love to use in order to build a stronger, more connected, more compassionate world. To record your random acts of kindness, your Secret Agents of Compassion acts, or your service projects, you will need to submit reports about them on the Compassion Map. During the Games we will be highlighting and writing about all sorts of contributions, large and small, but for those who are counting, it is important to know that it is through the map that we will tally and keep score for the Games. [Please note – the Compassion Map is NOT the place to announce future events. It is the place to document the results of completed activities.]

Below is a video tutorial about Compassion Mapping, and following that is a detailed  explanation of how to use the Compassion Map.

To submit your reports and therefore receive credit in the Games for your activities, there’s not a lot you need to learn. Here are the basics:

On the report form, you will find a number of different fields that must be completed. The required ones are marked with little red asterisks, and those fields need to be completed for the report to be posted on the Compassion Map.

There are only five required fields: Report Title, Description, Total # of Volunteers, Total Volunteer Hours, and Location Name.

– Under “Report Title,” tell us what you want the report to be called; it will show up under this name when people search the nap.

– The “Description” field is the main box and it’s where the content goes – in other words, here you tell us what happened that you are reporting, whether it be a Secret Agent of Compassion action, a Random Act of Kindness, or a Service Project.

– Total # of Volunteers and Total Volunteer Hours must be entered. These will apply to the tally that is kept during the Compassion Games.


– The “Location Name” field can either be typed in manually, or even better,  type the location in under the box beneath the map (where it says “City, State, and/or Country”) and Google Maps will pinpoint your location and fill out the box below on its own.

Although it is not required, if you are playing Compassion Games on behalf of one of the communities who have signed up, the “Categories” section is essential, as this will assign your activity to the proper team. Under “Categories” identify if you are submitting a Story of Compassion, a Service Project, or a Random Act.  Under “Communities” click the drop down box to choose the team you are representing.

That’s all you need to get your report on the page. However, we and other Gamers want to hear as much as possible about the event that you are reporting, so please also include as many other fields as possible. We want to know about the amazing organizations that you might be working with or for, so if you can tell us that, type their name under “Affiliation Name” and select what type of group they are (if they fit one of the categories) under “Affiliate Type” (examples: nonprofit, governmental agency, business, etc.).

Then, on the right-hand side of the page, comes media, which we encourage you to put as much of as possible. Media can be submitted in the three more boxes or areas under “Location Name.” Their labels are “News Source Link” (any page that’s linked to the action you’re reporting, whether it’s your blog, the organization that set up the action, a news report about it, or similar information), “External Video Link”  and “Upload Photos.” You can add as many websites, video links, and photos as you want by clicking the small, white plus sign to the right of the boxes.

Finally, under “Optional Information” tell us who you are! We want to connect with you and know you, so this information is very helpful.

Thanks for all your love and compassion, and good luck gaming!


PS, if you want to read about my experience mapping, click here.

September 11th Revisited by Lucy Dougall

What if
instead of remembering
the horror
the anger and hate
the fear and suspicion

What if
instead of a 12 year war
that no one can win
where everyone loses
where the aftermath continues to damage untold lives

We take something else from that fateful day?
The memory of
firemen entering the burning wreckage
ordinary people rushing to help
to give blood
to comfort the injured
to feed the rescuers
all joining together in compassion,
remembering loved ones
in shrines of flowers and candles

What if
our hearts can be changed
so we can live in a world where, in Camus’ words,
we are Neither Victims Nor Executioners?

What if
we worked, singly and together,
to make it happen?

By Lucy Dougall

Seeking News that Inspires

Interning for the Compassion Games, I have elected to spend much time seeking out stories of love, hope and compassion to put on the Compassion Map. The process has been illuminating.

Click to access the CompassionMap

Click to access the CompassionMap

One thing I’ve learned while searching for stories of compassion is that there is, as the truism goes, a great bias towards negative news in the media, especially in foreign coverage. You really have to dig to find anything positive. The effect of this, naturally, is separating and divisive, both reinforcing and playing on our prejudices and stereotypes while tamping out any hope we might have for the future.

We learn about corruption and violence in India, which is viewed as a threat to US-dominance through the aggressive, zero-sum, competition-based paradigm that we sometimes adopt, but we don’t learn about the Indian finance minister who emphasizes that Indian growth must occur with mindfulness and compassion for the poor. We read about arms traffickers and ailing Chernobyl victims in Eastern Europe, but we don’t read about the thousands of Estonians who, on a single day, came together in a stunningly well-planned volunteer project to pick up literal tons of garbage from their nation’s forests. We hear about graft, instability and religious oppression in Pakistan but don’t hear of how Karachi is known regionally as the “city of charity” and that its moneyed citizens, during Ramadan, often eschew hit-or-miss welfare organization in order to give direct support to the city’s poor and underprivileged.

At first glance (or first Google search) the modern world does seem terminally tragic and decadent. But like everything, upon deeper inspection things change. In spite of the relentless – though important – negativity that posits a downward trend in our world’s state, every now and then something strange, beautiful, and contrarian appears through the cracks. The world is, in fact, full of suffering, of pain, of corruption and violence, abuse and injustice. Those things are all there, and they are all real; we should be able to look them in the eye and be utterly honest about their existence. But the negative is not the whole picture. There is, simultaneously, love, caring, and compassion around the world, a growing web of world-affirming kindness that we need only a bit of curiosity to reveal.

If we are aware of only the dark, few will think that it is worthwhile to care, to love, and to give of ourselves, because humankind will look tragic, selfish, violent and unlovable. But if we can tease out the whole picture, the narrative will start to shift, and with this we will start to shift peoples’ response to the world.

The Compassion Map is a tool we can use as an antidote to the reigning narratives about what the world is like right now. It gives us a chance to offer the other half of the story and inspire others to join us. We invite you to help us tell this tale.