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   WZM Award for Compassion 


WZM Award


WZM Award presented on
May 16, 2013 to Jaime Garcia, Garfield High School





By Jaime Garcia

Compassion, what is it? It’s an important value in our lives to have and share with others. Compassion is “a deep awareness of and sympathy for another’s suffering.” Placing your self in another’s life or metaphorically speaking walking in someone else’s shoes. I remember I would go to church with my mother and the preacher there would hold this value in high regard and promote it to others. I didn’t know how important and special this value someone has could really be until I experienced it myself.

Growing up, my parents didn’t tell me what compassion is but I learned on my own from the actions I have done to help others. One specific moment that comes to my mind relating to compassion is when I go out on my way to school on trash day when the trash man comes to pick up our trash. This elderly woman with worn out clothing and messy hair with dirt on her face passed by looking into trash cans collecting recyclables for the little money she can get for them. I realized she was homeless and noticed when some people passed by she would smile and some people wouldn’t smile back or wouldn’t notice her because of her appearance.

I was walking my dog one evening and she passed by collecting recyclables, she complemented my dog and smiled, I smiled back and thanked her, I noticed she’s not a bad person from what others make it appear. I felt sympathy for her for not having what I have or much for that matter. But yet she always had a smile on her face for others, out of the pain she may have endured from being homeless she still has the hope to smile at others even when they don’t smile back. I admire her spirit for being who she is when she appeared to have no one there with her or for her. I began to think about her suffering, it was cold the times she passed by and her cart was full of cans and other things that looked like she had picked up for other uses.

One morning, when going to school I saw her walking with a cough and looking tired she smiled at me like always. I smiled back but this time I stopped her, she turned around with a surprised look on her face, not having any food or water I handed her money, as she took it she told me “thank you so much dear I really appreciate it, God bless you.” As I smiled back at her and went on my way I felt a warm feeling thinking that I’ve done something good for her. I guess that’s what compassion to me is, understanding to give a chance to someone who is suffering and trying to help them when in need can make that person and the other feel good. I haven’t seen her much anymore but when I do I’ll smile at her and try to help her more because that’s what one should always do for others when in need.


Ruth Ratna Handy, LCSW
(818) 834-5925


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