Archive for “Tell A Story”

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.

 

‘Kindness School’ builds strong academics with compassion

 Submitted by What’s Good 206

Strong academics are a byproduct of a good school.

That’s the model for Puget Sound Community School, which operates on the premise that students learn best when they are supported in their passions. And yes, they do take classes like pre-calculus and physics.

Teaching compassion and kindness are an essential part of that education, says founder Andy Smallman, who founded the school 19 years ago with his wife Melinda Shaw.

Hear students and teachers talk about this amazing school.

 

 

Hosted by John Ecklof
What’s Good 206 is Seattle’s youth media source.

Hope and pain through a social worker’s eyes

By Martha Hopler

As I head to the home of J. I feel a sense of urgency today is the day.  Today is the day I have waited for, for some time.  I have waited for the moment she is ready to head to re-hab.  I am very aware of the choices I have made to allow her to continue to care for her children while she chooses  to use drugs and alcohol to escape the realities of her difficult life.

As the social worker I live in the ever present tension of what is right for her kids and what she wants….  She on her own has finally said, “Yes I will go.”

I am grateful, for I am aware, that soon I would not have had the choice to place the children in protective custody and that would have been a new level of pain for all involved.  In this case, mom is making that very difficult decision,  and I have assisted in placing the two younger children with a family they are very familiar with and a family that mom trusts. She will start with detox and there she can have none of her children with her.  The older son was supposed to be at the grandmother’s home.  I am here to pick up J. and take her to what is hopefully going to be the beginning of new.

As I enter the home, the first thing I am aware of is the older son, R., sitting on the steps. He is 14 years old and cannot stay in the home alone.  In my head I start thinking of my options.  I say, “You will have to come with us.  I am taking your mom to the hospital.”

In reality I am buying time to figure out next steps.  I cannot leave him in the house alone.  He says quite loudly, “NO.”  I pass him on the stairs as I go to find him mom who is calling to me.  And then he states, “You do not  give a shit about me.” I stop and ask, “Why would you say that?”  He says “Because I am a black male.”  My heart breaks and my brain says, “Oh no, you didn’t….. I know this is a truth grounded in him for his whole life ….and it is a challenge to me — Will you be like every white social worker or person in the system and pass him by? Oh what to do?”

The next actions were not planned. They did not fit the “social work hand book,” nor would I brag of such an action in the next staff meeting, for it might be viewedas a very  bad idea.  I went to the pay phone passing several men doing drug business.  If I leave R. at the house he will be in this business soon I think…..he may already be.

I call my office hoping to connect with my supervisor who can give me some “good ideas” of the next thing to do. She is not there.  I cannot take mom to rehab and leave R. in the house. I then remember that due to R. not going to school there is a bench warrant for his arrest. I call the police. Again was not thinking this was the best action but I was just working toward the goal of getting him to leave the house.  The police come. R. comes with me to the van. He has calmed down, he has stopped yelling at me. He is terrified and rightly so.  A woman and a man get out of the van. Two police officers, looking like those  you have seen on TV,  tell him that they have the van, so they can arrest him if it comes to that.

The man grabs R. and starts to throw him up against the van.  I lost it again, not my finest moment, but no one was going to hurt R., that was not why I called the police.  I forgot for a moment that not all who are in power want the best for R., and he does represent men who have been portrayed as scary and dangerous. I grab the police offer by the shirt and say. “Do not hurt him. I called you but I am the one to deal with him.” He lets go of R. and turns to listen to me. I explained what I was needing and he  talked to me and the woman went and checked if the warrant was in the system.  It was not….I said thanks for your time and help they left and R. got in my car so I could take him mom to detox.

 

He lived compassion at life’s end

By Alanna Gunne

Lying in his bed, he listened to the sounds of life.  He could smell the pot roast cooking in the kitchen and hear his housemates moving through the halls.  A movie was playing on his VCR and he was comfortable.  He had not envisioned his life this way.  He loved the beach and the sunshine.  He loved his work and his many friends knew him as a passionate foodie.  Assisted by his pain medications, he often dreamed of those days.  In a way it was a gift because he could live in whichever memory he chose – and he chose the best ones every time.

Chris Hawkins was pretty sure he would not live much longer – although over the years he had entertained this possibility countless times and still – here he was.  Thinking of ‘life’ he sometimes counted off the living that he could no longer accomplish.  First of all, he was blind – so he could no longer watch his beloved movies or see the smiles on his friends’ faces.  His frame was skeletal and he could no longer walk.  His kidneys were shutting down so his ‘big day out’ was going to the clinic for dialysis.  All of his physical and social needs were supported by the staff and volunteers at Rosehedge – his home for 14 years.

Compassion.  That was the word Chris used to describe the lifeblood that kept him going – countless acts of compassion and love.  The house cook stopped by his room regularly to chat and find out what he felt like eating.  They had long foodie talks and had become real pals.  CareTeam volunteers sat with him, sharing movies and conversation.  One older gentleman became his best friend.  With the help of a wheelchair, they would roam the neighborhood.  He would feel the fresh air on his face and listen to the kids as they raced home after school.  The nursing staff loved Chris – in fact, everyone loved him because he was so ready with a smile and encouraging word even when the days were hard to live through.

One evening, he fell asleep listening to a movie.  The nurse came in to see him and realized that he was in crisis.  That night Chris left his body in the local emergency room and was suddenly free of pain and restriction.  Those he left behind mourned.

Chris’ memorial service was held on a sunny afternoon at the church across the street from his home.  His family came from California and Portland; his friends came just as far. His father, who was in the hospital at the time, attended the service via Skype. One of his former house nurses came from Bellingham.  There were house staff, volunteers and housemates – all gathered to honor him, remember his life and support each other in their grief.  His 8-year-old nephew played the violin.  Memories were shared and the healing began.

And as Chris watched this gathering of people who had touched his life, he recognized that he was right all along.  His world was COMPASSION.

 Alanna Gunne is a  Companis Worker placed with Rosehedge/Multifaith Works,  which serves those living HIV/AIDS by providing housing, compassionate health care and supportive services that enhance the quality of their lives.

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.

 

 

brother’s compassion for his sisters is a life lesson

By Lee Campbell

There was a man named Joe Earl. He was born in 1911 in a small town near the Mississippi River. His father died of an unspecified illness when he was a toddler. His mother, Mollie Bodi, remarried and  had two daughters, Ida Mae and Delores. Mollie’s second husband died in an accident in a Missouri mine. She married a third time to a man whose last name was Dockins and had four more daughters. In approximately 1925, she died while giving birth to a baby boy. After her death, Mr. Dockins took the eight children from Missouri to California where he had relatives. When he reached California he took the eight children to various family member of his, parceled them out and disappeared.

The eight children were not happy in their new homes and they were not happy being separated from one another. After they struggled in their new environment for many months, possibly as long as a year, Joe, then 15-years-old, went around to all the children and said, “You Dockins children have to stay here in California because these are your relatives, but I am taking Ida Mae and Delores with me and we are going back to Missouri.”

So this teenage boy scraped together enough money to buy tickets on the train for himself and two adolescent girls to travel from California to Missouri;  he begged from strangers in order to feed the three of them and when they finally reached Missouri he took  his half-sisters to relatives until he could find a home for each of them, then he went to another relative and asked for a home for himself. I didn’t hear this story from Joe Earl. When I was a teenager myself, my Aunt Delores told me, with tears in her eyes, of the great love she and her sister Ida Mae had for their brother, Joe.

My father, Joe Earl, was an amazing man, who taught me much about listening to people, hearing their words, and understanding the value of their stories and their lives.

Lee Campbell lives in Lake Forest Park and is an active community volunteer as a Companis Worker with Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance and University Baptist Childrens’ Center.

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.

What’s good? Volunteers in record numbers show compassion

Submitted by What’s Good ‘206’?

Some painted walls, others cleaned a preschool inside and out. Others pulled yard cleanup duty. All told, there were more than 12,000 of them — people who came out on Sept. 21, United Way of King County’s biggest ever Day of Caring and the launch of the Compassion Games.

Take a look by the numbers:
  • Total volunteers: 12,122
  • Total companies represented: 138
  • Total projects completed: 448
  • Total hours of labor: 59,737
  • Total value of work: $1.3 million

It was also the first time Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest, sponsored by Compassionate Seattle, collaborated with United Way of King County to inspire people to help, heal and inspire the community. Sept. 21 was the kickoff date for the Compassion Games, which continue through Oct. 21, and include many ways to give back and celebrate the community we live in.

Listen as your community talks about how we could all become more compassionate, and what would encourage us to volunteer more.

This video was produced by Austin Williams and Alyssa Piraino of What’s Good ‘206’?, an organization that features young people producing stories about how their peers are doing good and compassionate service in the world and helping to shape the leaders of tomorrow.