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   WZM Award for Compassion 


Ruth Handy  presenting WZM  Award for Compassion


WZM Award presented on
June 7, 2012 to Yessenia Tostado, Garfield High School







By Yessenia Tostado

My situation at home has made my education challenging. My parents are always fighting at home. They argue over little things and bicker about how they've thought of getting a divorce. These arguments make it hard for me to find a quiet place to concentrate on my tasks without any interruptions. But rather than surrender to all the stress they bring home, I have decided to move forward and focus my energies towards my education and community involvement. Along the way, I became passionate about sharing and providing others with the encouragement and help that people needed.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “you only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.” “A heart full of grace,” and “a soul generated by love” are traits that lead to compassion. Being compassionate is not only about being merciful and sympathetic; it’s about encouraging one another, motivating others to do their best, comfort the hurt, weak and sick. As an individual, I love to take the initiative to find ways in which I can contribute my energy, knowledge, and experiences to improve the world in which I live. The ability to be compassionate towards other is what drives me to ask questions and search for answers to better my community and broaden my understanding. My goal in life is to establish community centers in developing countries with an emphasis on education to ensure that both children and their families become educated.

Having volunteered at Heart of Los Angeles, Young Women Christian Association, and Humphreys Elementary School, I became aware of the necessity to provide opportunities for children to grow to be intellectual individuals.  In this non-profit, I hope to provide a safe and loving environment for children to partake in their hobbies, succeed academically and build leadership skills. I know that children in developing countries are sometimes unable to read a book or solve a mathematical problem. Therefore, I intend to provide assistance and help disadvantaged children to learn and improve their reading, writing, and math skills so they can succeed.

I want to help children develop the ability to be someone who thinks critically, reads, writes and speaks well. I want to build up their communication skills so they can be able to express their ideas more effectively. I hope to do this by having the children work in groups and independent learning. I hope to promote the use of new technologies so that if they decide to enter into the world of higher education they will be equipped with equal knowledge. My ultimate goal in life is to help others overcome obstacles, become problem solvers and decision makers on their own.

In these volunteer sites, the majority of the children I worked with had a hard time mastering the English language and mathematical skills.  My tasks as a teacher’s assistant were to pull aside struggling students for a few minutes a day from the rest of the class, and provide direct assistance in their deficient academic areas. I can relate to this because I myself had a hard time grasping the English language. However, having understood that I had to work harder at improving my English skills I decided to increase the amount of reading I’d do on my own.  I loved to assist the children, especially because I was able to improve their skills through lots of practice and patience.

Also, having volunteered at Jonah’s Project in Downtown, and having witness the desperation, solitude and hungriness that many homeless go though is very heartbreaking. The compassion I felt and the desire to help was very strong. Serving them food and providing them with a comforting place to relax and have a good time gave me such great joy. At my non-profit I hope to fulfill the necessities that families may have, providing them with food will give them the energy to go on forth.  In volunteering I realized my passion for mentoring others and a desire to reach higher education. In furthering my education, I hope to broaden my perspective and learn about different ways in which I can improve my community and teach others to also be compassionate and serve others to encourage them to succeed.


Ruth Ratna Handy, LCSW
(818) 834-5925


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