Compassionate Rochester MN
Growing a Culture of Compassion
FALL/WINTER 2018-2019 Issue: Two
What’s Been Happening! Over 850 Volunteer Hours in 2018
✸ Listening sessions
Carrying forward our focus of “honoring and supporting compassionate thought and action already existing in our community” Compassionate Rochester MN has held listening sessions for the last year with those in service to our community. The following is a list of those who have told our organizing group their stories of what has brought compassion into their work serving the community. We have heard moving testimony to how serving others awakens compassion in themselves as well as those they work with and those they serve. In this process, we hope we have honored and acknowledged that underlying the work done in public life, it is compassion that gives the every-day work of service deep meaning.
To serve confidentiality to speak freely we have chosen not to publish their stories. We encourage you to ask and to listen to those you work with, live with, and serve in the community to hear another’s compassion, and to experience connection in a most profound way.
We are honored to continue our listening sessions in 2019.
17 Michael Woczik City Council
30 Nick Campion City Council
12 Emily Johnston United Way
1 Randy Staver City Council
7 Olmsted County Youth Commission members
15 Melissa Brandt Rochester Public Schools – Transition and Fostering Connections Coordinator
5 Kim Norton Fmr State Legislator, community activist; Rochester’s new Mayor.
19 Guthrie Capossela Rochester Public Schools – Native American liaison (former)
3 Dee Sabol, James Rechs, Al Lun Diversity Council
17 Sister Marlys Jax Assisi Heights Spirituality Center, Compassionate Rochester MN
7 Terri Allred Director of Community Engagement Women’s Shelter and Support Center; Director
Women’s Spirituality Conference
21 Barb Kermisch No One Dies Alone; Mayo Hospice volunteer; Compassionate Rochester MN
5 Jennifer Becker NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness
19 Grace Pesch Bolder Options, now with United Way
2 James Robertson Sports Mentorship Academy
16 Amy Eich Director, Rochester Community Ed
6 Sheila Kiscaden Fmr Minnesota State Senator; Olmsted County Commissioner
20 Marty Cormack Society of St. Vincent DePaul
6 Wendy Moore Conflict Mediation Services
✸ Mayo Clinic School of Medicine Community Engagement Grant
Sarah Tawfic, medical student and steering committee member of Compassionate Rochester MN, along with steering committee member Paula Smith, were recently awarded a Community Engagement grant through the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine to support community projects for underserved populations. The title of the grant project is “Capacity Building Through Collaborative Efforts to Increase Mental Health Education Services at the Rochester Alternative Learning Center (ALC).” The purpose of this project is to help build frontline prevention and interventional foundation using an empirically-supported and trauma-informed mental health curriculum called Teaching Transformational Life Skills to Students (TLS) from Niroga Institute (www.niroga.org) during the 2018-2019 school year.
The TLS curriculum is composed of 48 brief in-class lessons (15+ minutes) that build cognitive and experiential knowledge about stress resilience, self-awareness, emotional regulation, and healthy relationships. Mindful centering and movement along with breath regulation are taught in conjunction with trauma-informed instruction. Funds through this grant were matched by existing ALC grant funds to train and assist teachers and staff in order to systematically integrate lessons from the TLS curriculum into existing advisory class periods. 21 ALC teachers and staff, along with the Program Lead for the Girl Scouts of MN & WI River Valleys, an Instructor of Nursing for Winona State University Rochester and a retired teacher/substitute teacher participated in two full-day training sessions on September 17th and September 24th. Follow-Up evaluation and training session is scheduled for December 4th.
✸ RCTC Joins International Charter for Compassion
Rochester Community and Technical College in November 2018 was proud to announce the signing of its Charter for Compassion. President Jeffrey Boyd officially affirmed the Charter for Compassion, making RCTC a full educational partner in the Charter movement.
Unveiled in 2009, The Charter for Compassion is an international network of organizations that believe “Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures” and that we must treat “everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity, and respect.”
RCTC is the only college or university in the Midwest to join the Charter for Compassion, and one of only a few other community colleges nationwide. Other notable higher education institutions to partner with the Charter include Stanford University, the College of William and Mary, Georgia State University, and Western Connecticut State University.
This Compassion initiative developed over many years at RCTC and has truly been a college-wide effort. RCTC staff has held food and school supply drives, sponsored a book club, and participated in grant projects. The faculty has developed a compassion studies course, incorporated related curriculum into classes and workshops, written grants, and engaged frequently with off-campus communities. The administration has supported compassion efforts with time, thoughtful advice, and leadership, and students have organized and attended many compassion-focused events.
As a full educational partner, RCTC will collaborate with other Charter organizations to develop compassion-rich environments and opportunities for students, staff, faculty, and visitors. RCTC also aims to continue its strong partnerships with Compassionate Rochester MN and other local and regional organizations to support compassion-centered education and action.
RCTC is one of the oldest, two-year colleges in the United States. Signing the Charter affirms that RCTC’s rich legacy of compassion will continue—with focus, energy, and determination—into the future.
Steve Juenemann is an RCTC instructor who had the insight to bring this idea of partnering with the Charter for Compassion. Steve is also a member of Compassionate Rochester MN.
✸ Nature Scavenger Hunt on September 8, 2018
Several parents and children joined members of Compassionate Rochester MN to explore nature at Assisi Heights. Our scavenger hunt involved children having clues and finding places on the grounds using a Nature Passport as a guide to finding the wonders of the natural world. Our goal was to provide a venue for our children to learn to appreciate and enjoy nature and to grow into adults who value and protect our environment with great compassion.
✸ Celebrating the 9th Annual Journey of Peace
This event in October is the gathering of many faith traditions with the purpose of increasing consciousness and awareness of how we are all walking on the same pathway building peace for our world. The theme of the day was “Voices of Hope” planned with Compassion Rochester MN and the Franciscan Sisters, and led by young high school and college-age adults articulating their stories of contemporary issues.
Each person voiced the passion in their personal life that moved them to act for a bigger good. We heard stories of the local movement of March of our Lives, reflecting back to the Parkland shooting and the need for new gun laws. We heard the accounts of domestic abuse and the needs for sheltering and safety. Another spoke of the freedom and responsibility of adulthood by voting. Another recited the plight of refugees and immigrant’s human-to-human relationship, in need of care and compassion. One voiced the everyday experiences of living with mental health issues and finally, another talked about the acceptance of all peoples regardless of their origin of birth, gender, faith or color of skin.
Their vibrant stories were Voices of Hope that propelled the audience to leave with hope and lilt in their step!
Become a Partner of Compassionate Rochester MN in 2019
We, as a movement, wish to raise awareness in our community of the benefits of compassionate actions to all who live, work, or visit the city.
By becoming a partner of Compassionate Rochester MN and affirming the Charter for Compassion you, as an individual, your group, program, business, organization or institution joins a movement to bring an awareness of compassion and compassionate action to everything we do as we interact with other people and with our environment.
✮ You can sign on as a partner at no cost. Please visit our website for direction