Although compassion is a cornerstone of every major faith in the world, it is also a secular and universal human value. Compassion is essential to safe and caring schools and to the larger community.
Compassion gives us the ability to feel with others and brings us into the presence of something greater than ourselves. It helps us to address the issues that we face both locally and globally. Compassion is fundamental to devloping socially responsible citizens who can address the global challenges we face.
As a result of the Compassion Project which was initiated at Brooks Secondary School in 2010, there has been a growing emphasis on compassionate action in all of our district schools.
On June 23, 2012, School District 47 students celebrated the community of Powell River joining the global campaign for compassionate action at the Max Cameron Theatre. Watch this Youtube video for a brief sampling of the event.
Children's Charter for Compassion
During the month of May 2014 Board Chair Jeanette Scott travelled to each of the districts elementary schools to introduce the newly created Children's Charter for Compassion. Each school had the opportunity read and sign the charter; that will have a prominant place in their building. See the link above to find out more about the Children's Charter for Compassion.
During June 2013 a number of students from local elementary schools attended the Brooks Drama 10 students’ production entitled “Proud”.
Focussing on issues from rejection to bullying and grief to low self-esteem, the students created a presentation that incorporated acting, singing and dancing to stress the importance of showing compassion to oneself and to others.
This production revives a tradition of interactive socio-drama that was introduced at Max Cameron Secondary School in the mid-1990’s. Following a training session sponsored by the Community Justice Branch of the Ministry of the Attorney-General, a troupe of student actors developed a workshop-style drama presentation that engaged the audience in identifying effective ways to change negative patterns of behavior and break the cycle of violence. This project - under the banner of CRAK-UP (Commit a random act of kindness, you people!) - saw the actors performing for school administrators and in several local elementary schools.
During the 1997-98 school year, the members of Brooks Stage Performance Group used real stories of bullying to create a series of theatre pieces that were incorporated into workshops presented to students in elementary, middle and secondary schools in the local school district. Their work was later turned into a television production that aired on the Shaw network.
School District 47 featured on the
Compassionate Action Network International website. Check out the link here:
Students from Coast Mountain Academy, School District 47’s senior youth leadership program offered at Brooks Secondary School, learn about permaculture hands-on and Townsite Brewing helps out by asking a local permaculture expert to design a garden and lead the students through the project. It is a win-win for everyone. Read full article here:
The Coast Mountain Academy focuses on leadership, citizenship and adventure. On top of that, their recent trip to Cuba also gave students the opportunity to learn about natural sciences, social studies, history, economics, and of course the Spanish language. Described as a service learning trip, “this experience enabled students to learn with both their heart and hands,” said Ryan Barfoot. “We worked with Cuban youth on an old dump site converting over to a community garden. Together we transformed it from a landscape of neglect to a landscape of nutrition and learning.” Read full article here:
Over spring break a group of 11 students, from grades 11 and 12, and two teachers from Brooks Secondary School, travelled to Ecuador for a service learning experience at over 10,000 feet above sea level. Read the full article here:
The Fitness 11 /12 class at Brooks Secondary is very pleased to have been able to donate the $ 2678.50 raised at this year’s Jingle Jog to the Powell River Food Bank.
The Christmas Cheer Food Drive at James Thomson Elementary had a new twist in 2012. The Blaney family brought their traditional canoe - “Cheechlem Chichiya/Dancing Granny”- to the school and the school community took on the challenge to fill the canoe (with food for needy families).
Four Gr. 7 students from Grief Point had the privilege of attending the We Day in Vancouver where they heard founders of Free the Children and Me to We Day, Marc and Craig Kielburger, as well Justice Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The result of their visit was that they inspired the Student Leadership group to organize a food drive during the week before Hallowe’en. Students and staff all responded positively to “Let’s Scare Hunger”.
Archived News stories
Resources for Teaching and Learning
Secondary Lessons Plans about the Charter for Compassion
Additional Secondary Lesson Plans for Exploring the Topic of Compassion
Other Compassion Resources
This book can be found in all Vancouver school libraries. (It can also be
from Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House.)
BC Youth (ages 12 to 18) reflect on giving, receiving, witnessing, observing, listening, accepting, action, courage, hope and understanding compassion.
For a set of
click on the book cover.
Acts of Kindness
In Spring 2011, Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl from UBC partnered with Dr. Sonia Lyubomirski, University of California to research the effects on children performing Random Acts of Kindness.
Links for Educators
Here are additional links that may be helpful in engaging with students on the topic of compassion in action:
Charter for Compassion Home Page - learn more, connect with others, take action
Compassionate Action Network - Start a Campaign!
Charter for Compassion Translations - over 30 languages available
Children and Youth Compassion Bibliography - annotated list of books
Children's Charter for Compassion - created by Erin Henry (of Canada) for children up to Grade 8, linked with the Worldwide Compassionate Cities campaign. Also available in
Compassion Project - Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House - learn about an innovative project in our community
Daily Good - inspirational website that promotes positive and uplifitng news from around the world
Free The Children's Curriculum and Programs - ideas and tools for social justice, global citizenship and youth empowerment from the hosts of
Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life - groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being from the University of California, Berkeley
The Hawn Foundation - learn about the MindUP Program and lessons about optimism, gratitude and generosity
Kindness Foundation - offers tool kits for schools on respect, compassion, generosity, integrity and others
VB Learn - Vancouver Biennale Open Air Museum website and Heart, Mind, and Body Awareness Lesson
Voices Compassionate Education
Waves of Compassion
Compassionate Action Network International Follow the links to find some great resources to creating compassionate schools and education organizations.
Links of local interest on the web
A Bibliography of Compassion
Abuelaish, I. (2011). I shall not hate: A Gaza doctor's journey on the road to peace and human dignity (1 US ed.). New York, N.Y.: Walker & Co.
Armstrong, K. (2010). Twelve steps to a compassionate life. Toronto: Knopf Canada.
Armstrong, K., & Ebooks Corporation. (2011). The great transformation. New York: Atlantic Books Ltd.
Chödrön, P., & Boucher, S. (2006). Practicing peace in times of war (1st ed.). Boston: Shambhala: Distributed by Random House.
Davis, A. (Ed.). (2009). Hearing the call across traditions: Readings on faith and service. Woodstock, Vt.: SkyLight Paths Pub.
Gandhi, M., & Merton, T. (Eds.). (1965). Gandhi on non-violence; satyagraha. english. New York: New Directions Pub. Corp.
The heart of learning: Spirituality in education (1999). In Glazer S. (Ed.), . New York: Penguin Putnam Lnc.
Kielburger, C., & Kielburger, M. (2006). Me to we: Finding meaning in a material world (2nd ed.). Mississauga, Ont.: J. Wiley & Sons Canada.
Kielburger, C., & Kielburger, M. (2012). Living me to we: The guide for socially conscious canadians. Vancouver: Me to We.
Kushner, H. (2007). Practice random acts of kindness. San Francisco, CA: Conari Press.
Litwin, V. (2004). Cool to be kind: Random acts and how to commit them. Toronto: ECW Press.
Lunn, J. (Producer), & Lunn, J. (Director). (Unknown). Forgiveness: Stories for our time. [Video/DVD] Wild East Productions.
Nhất Hạnh, T. (Ed.). (1991). Peace is every step: The path of mindfulness in everyday life. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books.
Patel, E., & Brodeur, P. (Eds.). (2006). Building the interfaith youth movement: Beyond dialogue to action. Lanham, Md. ; Toronto: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Popov, L. (2000). The virtues project: Educator's guide. Austin, Texas: PRO-ED, Inc.
The Dalai Lama. (2010). Toward a true kinship of faiths: How the world's religions can come together. New York: Doubleday Religion.
Vanier, J. (1989). Community and growth (Rev ed.). New York: Paulist Press.
If you would like more information on Compassion in Powell River please contact Jeanette Scott -