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The Compassionate City Project: Compassion is a priority year round

The Compassionate City Project: Compassion is a priority year round

The Compassionate City Project: Compassion is a priority year round

Compassion is a priority year round

By Crispin Bottomly

This article originally appeared in Niagara This Week – St. Catharines, May 5, 2017

Last December when I was president of JCI St. Catharines chapter (Junior Chamber International), Steve Boese, a long-time member, came to me with the idea of expanding on the presentation we were given about #CompassionateSTC.

The project was brought to our membership and endorsed. The JCI #CompassionateSTC project would become a year-long social media awareness campaign based on “learning by doing” and showing visual examples. Twelve members of the community, called ambassadors, would each be assigned a weekend in a month to show visual representations of action and cultural change within our city and surrounding area through social media.

I was asked to be the representative of the Jaycees and in the time leading up to my weekend it became apparent to me that education and awareness would become my focus. In speaking with my advisors it came up that even though we’ve lived, gone to school and worked in the community, we weren’t really aware of all the agencies, non-profits, community groups and support networks for those marginalized in our city.

The first place I looked to was the St. Catharines Compassionate City directory. Through this guide you get a name and a number so I took deeper look into the services provided. As I researched the list more I shared with others the specific needs of the organizations. For example, Gillian’s Place was in need of new towels so I rallied the membership to help.

Sometimes awareness can lead to new ways to help. I encourage all of you reading to take a copy of the directory, available at city run locations and find out more about a group you didn’t know about before.

Another resource is InCommunities which runs the Niagara community information database with over 2,700 entries for community services.

I was invited by a local teacher who had heard about the #CompassionateSTC project to speak to her class. They had been studying community and being good neighbours. Interacting with these students teaching them the difference between sympathy and compassion (care+action)

Getting everyone in St. Catharines to recognize compassion isn’t about one day a year, but rather simple things you can do every day making city more inclusive. Remember that we don’t “run out of compassion.”

The takeaway from my weekend is that there is a lot of good happening — we just need to be more aware of what we can do to help. Visit www.compassionateSTC.ca and share your own story of compassion. I ask that you notice the needs of others, listen closely, stop to help, do what we can and be kind to all.

Niagara this Week is proud to support the Compassionate City Project with this first of a monthly series reflecting on the experience of one of the project ambassadors. For more on the Compassionate City initiative, visit www.compassionatestc.ca. Join the conversation with #CompassionateSTC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.