A Day of Compassion at the Regional School for the Deaf and Blind

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

            I dedicated Monday (April 8th) as being my Day of Compassion. I thought it would be an excellent day to be compassionate toward others since it ironically fell on Holocaust Remembrance Day. In my opinion, compassion is noticing the struggles of another person and doing something to help that person. While this would appear to be simple and logical, I believe that our society is lacking compassion these days. Overall, I would consider myself to be a compassionate person. I think that I am observant and empathetic toward the needs of others.

            Every week, I volunteer at the Regional School for the Deaf and Blind as a part of my scholarship requirements with the Foley Center. I have been working with children who are visually impaired for four years now. The children I work with range in grade level (1st-4th), and their needs vary. Most of the children in my class are able to see with the help of glasses, although one of my students is nearly blind. Every Monday, I help students with reading, math, playing games, and anything else the teacher needs my help with.

            For my Day of Compassion, I paid more attention to my own actions and the responses that occurred following my actions. I started my day at the Regional School by helping the students with reading their books in order for them to take reading tests. Some of the students choose their books ambitiously, and often have trouble with pronouncing the words or understanding some of the main points of the books they have chosen. After I helped one of the students with her book and she took her reading test, she gave me a hug and she was absolutely ecstatic that she had made a 100% on the test. She proceeded to tell me how she had been stuck on one of the words and she hadn't been able to finish the book at home because she didn't know what the word meant. This brought a smile to my face, and I realized how acts of compassion can impact the lives of others.

            The teacher I volunteer for is a wonderful teacher. She is the type of teacher who will do absolutely anything for her students, no matter what the cost is. She always tells me how grateful she is to have my help in her class. On my Day of Compassion, I came to the realization that when I help her students, I'm indirectly helping her, as well. The funding for Special Education teachers is low, and she doesn't have a paraprofessional in her class on most days. So, I realized that when I'm reading with a student or helping another student with math, I am allowing her to give individualized attention to another student. Before this, I had never realized how much of an impact being compassionate really had. The teacher pointing out my behavior allowed me to realize that, even though you may think you aren't doing much, your actions can mean the world to another person who is in need.

            I would definitely say that the benefits of being compassionate outweigh the costs. Being compassionate may cost you a few dollars, or some extra energy, but the benefits of being compassionate certainly outweigh the costs. One of the benefits to being compassionate is that you have made someone's life easier in some way. In our society, I think it is important to help one another. One of the best things you can do for someone is to make their life easier when they are struggling.

            A month from now, I think my behavior will be changed as a result of my Day of Compassion. I think reflecting on my actions has changed the way I view things. As I mentioned earlier, I think I've always been a compassionate person. However, I think that truly seeing how easy it is to be compassionate and the benefits of being compassionate will allow me to better encourage others to act with compassion. While it is easy to make excuses about how busy you are with work or school, I think it is always important to find some time in your day to be compassionate. Even if it's only to one person or one animal, I still think it is important to take time and observe when another being is in need of help.