2012 – 2013 Compassionate Young Leaders
What are the appropriate grade levels:
8 to 10
Is there a limit to the number of participants:
Is there an opportunity for community service:
Yes – 10 to 20 hours
Is this a new or existing project:
This is an existing project.
Estimated project cost:
Children and young adults growing up in the 21st century face an overwhelming amount of environmental desecration, social injustice, economic distress, and political corruption. Despite these serious threats to the health and welfare of future generations, not one is as great as the loss of hope and sense of personal commitment to implement positive change in the world. In a recent nationwide survey on “Development Assets” teens in our valley gave the following responses.
- 71% of teens feel that adults in the community don?t value youth
- 64% feel that they don?t have useful roles in the community
- half do not put a high value on social justice or on caring for others
- only 31% feel that they have the skills to plan ahead and make choices
Sadly, this assessment is characteristic of so many other communities around the United States. It is for this reason that we feel so passionate about setting a new precedent in our community by establishing a perennial legacy of empowering Compassionate Young Leaders, who care to make a positive impact on the world. We believe that by catalyzing compassion and leadership in the hearts and minds of our youth we can break societal habits of hopelessness and indifference, and inspire a more sustainable and virtuous future for us all. The Compassionate Young Leaders Program is designed for high school juniors and seniors, and begins each year in October with every student making a commitment to complete one hundred hours of local community service before the end of the school year. Flourish Foundation helps to provide assistance in matching students with local organizations that align with their own unique interest and expertise. Along with facilitating relationships between students and community leaders, Flourish Foundation provides weekly meetings that impart each student with intrapersonal skills that will support them in sustaining their service efforts throughout the year. These skills are focused attention, empathy, kindness, and compassion and they emerge from each student?s interaction with a variety of contemplative practices.
Throughout the year the students will also participate in several organized workshops focusing on leadership skills, fundraising, and passionate service. These workshops are offered by Flourish Foundation and the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT.
At the end of the school year, students will take a service trip to either India or Tanzania and collaborate with other students and teachers in implementing projects that promote sustainability, education, and health. Immediately following these trips, the Compassionate Young Leaders will organize a community presentation where they will have the opportunity to share their experiences throughout the year.
It is our belief that compassion can be nurtured at the deepest level when cultivated inwardly through contemplative practices and outwardly through community service efforts.
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