Students will help foster compassion

By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor
St. Francis of Assisi School students Abigail Rough, left, and Makalyn Kearney changed a marquee in front of their parish on Bardstown Road Feb. 8. Last fall, students began posting quotes about compassion, changing the quotes every two to three weeks. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)
St. Francis of Assisi School students Abigail Rough, left, and Makalyn Kearney changed a marquee in front of their parish on Bardstown Road Feb. 8. Last fall, students began posting quotes about compassion, changing the quotes every two to three weeks. (Record Photo by Marnie McAllister)

Archdiocese of Louisville schools have joined in a local initiative to foster compassion.

“Youth Engaging Compassion” was launched Feb. 7 during a gathering of students, educators and city leaders, including Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, at the Muhammad Ali Center. The program was prompted by the upcoming visit of exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader His Holines the Dalai Lama. He plans to visit Louisville in May and will hold several public programs.

Leisa Schulz, superintedent of Catholic schools, and Donna Hargens, superintedant of Jefferson County Public Schools took part in the event Feb. 7 at the Muhammad Ali Center.

Schulz said compassion is an important part of Catholic education.

“Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville are excited about being part of the ‘Youth Engaging Compassion’ initiative,” she said.

Noting that Catholic high school students recorded 115,000 hours of service last year, she said Catholic school students are “challenged to take the gift of compassion, modeled by our master teacher, Jesus Christ, and give back to the broader community through their participation in ongoing acts of service.”

The “Youth Engaging Compassion” initiative calls on middle school and high school students to do just that. They have been asked to find ways to be more compassionate, to act on their ideas and then write about their efforts. A sampling of these writings will be presented to the Dalai Lama during his visit.

The initiative’s website, www.youthengagingcompassion.org, will also include a listing of local organizations that have specific needs to help match them with volunteers. The list also is designed to be used by others in the community, including by volunteers in the Mayor’s Give-a-Day Week of service April 13-21.

On May 21 the Dalai Lama will hold a program called “Youth Engaging Compassion – A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama” at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. About 2,000 middle school and high school students will attend, including students from Archdiocese of Louisville schools.

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