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Compassion embraces entire community

Event to help spread the love around
Kyle Wells

Compassion is once again the word at Brooks Secondary School. Students are looking to spread that word at the Compassion Project Night on Thursday, April 21.

This groundbreaking event, held at the school, will be the first opportunity for the public to see what it is all about. It will feature a preview of the upcoming Brooks-produced documentary The Compassion Project: Intergenerational Perspectives on Compassion, as well as a photographic exhibition. The photographs depict students involved in the project along with quotes on their views on compassion and kindness. Students will be present to talk about the project and pass along their message.

The event is the latest endeavour of an initiative that started in the school last year, spearheaded by students and guided by teachers Chris Bratseth and Darren Bennett. Students supported the project as a way to combat bullying in school and online and to promote treating people with kindness as the new cool way to act. Last year’s students made a documentary and worked with elementary school students to promote compassion at a young age. The project went over exceptionally well with everyone involved.

This year students are working with Powell River Digital Film School director Tony Papa to produce a longer, more polished documentary that incorporates interviews about compassion with students and community elders. They are also developing the Community Challenge Day which will take place on May 26 and challenges the community to commit a collective total of 10,000 acts of kindness in a single day.

Chloe Langmaid and Rayne Muir, both in grade 11, believe the project is making a difference at school and that people are starting to understand you don’t need to put others down to raise yourself up. By involving the larger community in the project, or at the very least by making them aware, the students believe it will add a certain legitimacy to the movement and help it spread.

“It’s not specific to any kind of person, it’s compassion, it’s about what everybody has and unites us,” said Chloe. “If you’re involved with it you can’t come to this classroom and talk about compassion the entire time and then leave and bully.”

“It’s definitely made people more compassionate,” said Rayne. “In the past year I’ve noticed students holding doors open for teachers and there’s less graffiti in the bathroom stalls. People are smiling when they pass each other in the hallways, which I think is really cool.”

The event is free to the community and will also feature music from student deejays, the school choir and Brooks’ band. The screening and exhibit will take place from 6 to 7 pm and music will run from 7 to 8 pm.