Compassion in Action

Compassion in Action

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 our safe and caring schools and 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.

In March 2012, Karen Armstrong engaged Vancouverites in 12 Days of Compassion. She spoke at "Compassion in Action", an Intergenerational Forum with invited Vancouver students and their significant adults.

Karen Armstrong was awarded the TED Prize in support of her call for the creation of a "Charter of Compassion" (2008), a document now endorsed by such dignitaries as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Dalai Lama. As a speaker and writer, she asserts that all major belief systems embrace the core principle of compassion.

Watch these videos to learn more about Karen Armstrong's Charter for Compassion:

Charter for Compassion

 TED Talk Speaker Karen Armstrong

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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 ordered 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 discussion questions, click on the book cover.

Elementary Lesson Plans for Exploring the Topic of Compassion

In 2006, in anticipation of the Dalai Lama visiting Vancouver, elementary teachers developed lesson plans and suggestions for a school-wide theme on Compassion.  You'll find many useful ideas and activities that continue to be relevant today. Download a copy of Compassion Elementary Lessons by clicking on the photo.



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.

You can download a copy of Kind Acts Ideas for Elementary Students by clicking on the heart picture to the left. And downoad a copy of Ideas for Parents and Teachers for Encouraging Kindness in Children.


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

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 French.

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

Dalai Lama Center Speakers Series - explore video/audio recordings of leaders who speak about education of the heart, related research, and the development of compassion

Free The Children's Curriculum and Programs - ideas and tools for social justice, global citizenship and youth empowerment from the hosts of We Day

Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life -  groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being from the University of California, Berkeley

Greater Vancouver Compassion Network - committed to furthering compassionate engagement and conduct in our communities.

The Hawn Foundation - learn about the MindUP Program and lessons about optimism, gratitude and generosity

Institute of HeartMath - Dedicated to helping people establish heart-based living and global coherence

Kindness Foundation - offers tool kits for schools on respect, compassion, generosity, integrity and othersWalking Figures

VB Learn - Vancouver Biennale Open Air Museum website and Heart, Mind, and Body Awareness Lesson


Lisa Pedrini, Social Responsibility Coordinator - Retired

Peggy Bochun, District Fine Arts Coordinator -

Banner Photo courtesy of nojhan