23 Feb, 2012
Kindness, part two
Posted by andrea tomkins in: Yaktivism
Part one is here. Thank you for your feedback!
I’ve been thinking a lot about kindness and compassion lately, especially given the upheaval my family has been going through lately. This week being Kindness Week, there have been a lot of great ideas and posts floating around about this topic. For me, every single one of these conversations comes down to one thing: the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It’s so easy, and yet kind of astounding at the same time. We can all live this way, yet many do not.
I have to ask: what kinds of things can we do to make our community better? And why is this important?
It’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture, isn’t it? By the end of the day (after family stuff, work, dinner, laundry, etc.) we’re often too tired to think of things beyond what’s on TV at the moment. But we must be aware, we must, because there are a whole lot of people in our community who can use some help. We cannot forget about these people.
An especially important part of Kindness Week, I think, is to talk about how to make Ottawa a better place to live for people who are off the radar and may not otherwise cross our paths. If there’s anything I’ve learned during my time with the Youth Services Bureau, is that there are an awful lot of people out there who need help. They aren’t the kind of folks we encounter as part of our daily routines and so it’s easy for them to fall outside our thinking. We forget about them as we lie on the couch, nodding off while watching the evening news. They are practically invisible. And this is wrong.
It’s almost too overwhelming to think about.
Awhile ago I had the opportunity to pay a visit to the Youville Centre. This is only one of many Ottawa organizations that is working hard to make our community a better place to live. The Youville Centre, if you haven’t heard of it before, is place where young mothers receive an accredited high school education and participate in individualized programs and parenting courses. This is from the Youville site:
“While the mothers are in school, their infants and toddlers are enrolled in the on-site day care. The children benefit from a quality early childhood learning program that addresses the social, emotional, cognitive, language and physical needs of each child. Nutritious meals and snacks are served daily.
Staff provide crisis intervention and counselling, advocacy, and referrals for current students, clients on Youville’s waiting list, and former students. A young father’s program is also delivered at Youville. It consists of a weekly support group, parenting support, individual counselling and a father/child drop in.
Through the Youville Centre, many young parents have obtained high school graduation diplomas. Several have gone on to college or university. Others have entered the world of work to enjoy rewarding and profitable employment.”
While I was there I got to see, firsthand, the great work that Youville does and how they are helping provide young women and their children with a good start and a brighter future. They’re giving them a leg up where there may not have been one.
If you’re looking for a way to make our community better, I recommend checking out Youville. They are struggling to find funds to pay for programs and services, and they depend entirely on donations and some government funding. Youville accepts cash donations, but also welcomes gently used infant and toddler clothing, clothing suitable for teenage students, toys, and various household items such as linens and dishes. Donations can be dropped off at the Centre between 8 and 4 on weekdays. Larger items are needed too (such as high chairs, sofas, etc.) but they ask donors to please speak to the Donor Coordinator at (613) 231-5150 ext 128 beforehand.
I think we already agree that the smallest things can make a big difference. And I think the spirit of kindness and compassion is an infectious one. If all of us did small things to make Ottawa a better place to live, it will become a better place to live. How could it not?
I asked this in my first post but I want to pose it here again today; what if someone told you that you had a superpower, and that this superpower gave you the ability to change people’s lives?
Kindness starts with you, so what will you do with your superpower today?
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