Operation: Compassion

Operation: Compassion
The You Matter Club at Holmes High School helps individuals develop compassion for themselves and others to show that everyone matters. This afterschool club through the Community Learning Center strives to create a better world filled with purpose, empathy, compassion and connection.

After student members of the club brought up concerns of how emotional outbursts are handled during class time, the club was charged with executing a new project this school year. Led by Julie Wharton, mentoring coordinator for Covington Partners, the club took its concern to a staff committee at Holmes High School. After discussion and brainstorming, Operation: Compassion was born.

Club members would provide a “compassion box” to select teachers located in multiple areas of the school building, the box to include items such as fidget toys, a blanket, coloring books, and tissues to provide immediate comfort and stress relief to struggling students. A list of tips for dealing with emotions would also be available for staff and students in the box.

"The You Matter Club members led this project from beginning to end. They identified a problem and worked towards creating a solution. I couldn't be more proud of the leadership skills displayed by this group. They genuinely want to find ways for all students to feel safe and supported throughout the school day,” Wharton says of the club’s project work.

Wharton says the project has three goals: 1.) to reduce the number of students needing to leave the classroom to manage their emotional distress, 2.) to minimize disruption to classroom instruction, and 3.) to provide knowledge/tools for students and staff to handle lower level emotional situations.

"The compassion box helped me stay in class because I was one to walk out [when I got upset]," one You Matter Club student states.

The Your Matter Club members and the school staff committee will work together to improve supportive and appropriate responses to emotional distress. The "compassion box" will be a first step in providing additional care and resources for the student body and staff. After feedback from staff and students, the club hopes to provide additional compassion boxes next year to a greater number of classrooms.

Category: Prevention
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