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   WZM Award for Compassion 


Ruth Handy  presenting WZM  Award for Compassion


WZM Award # 14 Presented on June 1, 2009 to Kayla Suff-Greene, Pasadena High School.





Compassion is a Virtue
by Kayla Suff-Greene

Compassion: sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. One of the struggles in our world today is that people do not show enough compassion. They put themselves first not caring how they may hurt others or how it could affect how others see them. Giving to others and helping others is one of the most important and free qualities a person has and could give. I have found this quality within myself and I am very thankful that I am able to give and show it to others.

Growing up in foster care was not the greatest. I was always being moved from one foster home to another. From the age of seven, until I was adopted at the age of seventeen, I was bounced around for foster home to foster home ending at a total of ten foster homes. It felt to me that no one wanted me and I felt like an old pair of shoes that when you got tired of them you could just toss them out. It made me feel like no one ever wanted me and that they did not care for me. They just looked at me as a paycheck. No matter how I was treated, as long as the social worker did not find out, they were still going to get that monthly check. But through all ups and downs, heartaches and heartbreaks, I learned something very valuable and even though it was not given to me, I felt that I was going to give it to others no matter what. I learned compassion. Giving to others when needed and not expecting anything back. I was known as the giver. I would give to people even when I had nothing but my heart and ears and sometimes that is all you need.

There are times in everybody’s life when you just need someone to be there for
you. A lot of the time, that is at the point where I come in. In the summer of 2007, I volunteered at the Cal Poly Arabian Horse Center for the summer horse camps. My aunt works at Cal Poly and was talking, one day when she came home from work, about how the summer horse camp might be canceled because they did not have enough counselors to over see the campers. They usually would hire at least four counselors to help out but were only were able to afford two. So I told her that I would ‘volunteer’ at the horse camp over the summer to help out. I was not wanting to get paid I just wanted to help out. She allowed me to volunteer and because of that, both the campers and myself benefited from it. I was able to learn so much more about horses that I did not know before and plus the campers were very grateful that their summer camp was not canceled. I helped teach and assist the campers with grooming the horses, riding and learning new tricks with the horses. And I also was allowed to ride the horses with the campers, which was very fun and exciting since I have not been on a horse since the age of six. Each session was a weeklong and there were a total of six weeks and at the end of every session, I would always get a hand made thank you card signed by all the campers thanking me for keeping the summer horse camp alive.

Not only have I shown compassion in the past but also I still show it today and will continue in my future. Currently, I am babysitting for some old neighbors that used to live down stairs from me. They are a young couple with a two and a half year old son and a seven-month-old daughter. They are the nicest and most generous people I have met. The mother is a stay at home mom and the father works on computers. They are not the richest and are sort of struggling right now. They need my help babysitting but are not able to pay me the six dollars an hour. So I go to their house once a week and baby-sit for free. I see it as if I am not struggling myself, why should I put them in the situation of deciding of losing money or just not taking the help and putting more work on themselves. It is only a few hours out of my day that I can give to them because they need it more than I do.

I am hoping that through out my lifetime, I can teach others and give to others the concept of compassion. Hoping that what they learn they can also pass on to others. However, most people are to caught up in their own world to recognize that the little help that they can give to just one person can change both of the rest of their lives.


Ruth Ratna Handy, LCSW
(818) 834-5925


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