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   WZM Award for Compassion 


WZM Award





WZM Award presented to Tess Perkins on May 16, 2019 - Pasadena High School








WMZ Scholarship for Compassion

There are some moments in time that I wished I had learned compassion from a major event. Something that totally turned the tables and made me become a better person. The truth is, I didnít learn compassion from just one thing, I learned through the small and subtle experiences. Between the ages of two and ten, I had undergone three eye surgeries. The surgeries were designed to make sure my eyes were working together and not separately. As I went through this period of my life of eye appointments, eye patches and having glasses since the age of two, I gained a sense of acceptance from the disability community. Even at a young age, I knew that I wanted to help those who were struggling more than I was. It was a way for me to channel the pain I had experienced into service and to help those who were not as fortunate as me. I was able to learn a lesson through this experience and that lesson was learning to be as humble as possible. I remember looking around my eye doctorís office and just seeing the kids who couldnít see and kids who were going blind. Yet, they played and smiled through their pain and recognized that theyíre not the only ones who were struggling. I realized that if Iím able to turn myself outward, having a different attitude and reaching to the people who need it most, Iím able to be a leader and use the knowledge I have for good.

Not only have I learned compassion from the disability community, but I have also learned compassion from the LGBTQ+ community. Being part of the queer youth of this age has taught me so many beneficial things that made me realize the art of compassion. Iíve learned to listen to peopleís stories and truly dwelling on them. Iíve learned to become aware that itís okay not to have an answer all the time but to quote the Bible ď comfort those in need of comforting and mourn with those that mourn.Ē Even in two different time periods of my life, I realized that I was able to gain something from two completely different communities; I realized that compassion and kindness are universal. Even people who are struggling, who Iíve seen have made the effort to step outside themselves and serve others who are in darker situations. Serving as a camp counselor for a non-profit organization has given me the opportunity to give kids a chance, and to truly make them feel included and loved. I feel immensely grateful that I was able to learn at an early age that it costs absolutely nothing to be kind and that through the hardships and trials, itís led me to a deeper understanding of what it means to have compassion.



Ruth Ratna Handy, LCSW
(818) 834-5925


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