Compassion Defined by a Google Engineer (Part I)

Shuvu's devoted educational supervisor Mrs. Weinberger with a student.

All 12 year old all girls feel the same. We feel like we’re in middle of a road. On one side is our childhood and on the other side are monumental challenges. We don’t want to go back in time because we believe that running away from our careless youth is the solution to all problems. The alternative, crossing the road and trying to survive the teenage years, is scary . So most of us stay stuck in the middle for about two years.

I’m actually done with those two years so now I’m mature enough to introduce myself and tell you how I spent my time in middle. My name is Alexandra, I’m 14 and I just graduated 8th grade at Shuvu. Until 6th grade I was in a State School. My mom is a single parent and has to work 12 hour shifts to put bread on the table. She was grateful for the 5 hours I was at school and for the rest of the day she prayed I would stay out of trouble. Little did she know that I was so desperate for friends to spend the day with that anyone and everyone was considered suitable company. I skipped school often, never did my homework and hung out with delinquents.

And then she heard about Shuvu. Shuvu and the compassion at Shuvu. I doubt the founders at Shuvu knew how Googler Chade-Meng Tan defines compassion, but they built their schools with an infrastructure of compassion just as Chen defined it*. Compassion, Chen explains, is made up of three components: “Affective – I feel for you, cognitive – I care about you, and motivational – I want to help you.”

My mom and I walked into the principal’s office to enroll me. You know how most principals are stern and grim. Well this one wasn’t. I felt like I met a new aunt. I am very grateful to Shuvu for the two years I spent there. But I still need a few more favors. I might not have earned them but I am certain I will get them because at Shuvu it’s all about compassion. (see Part II)

(*source: ted.com)

Click here to donate $70 for one week of summer camp so Shuvu can provide a safe environment for girls like Alexandra.

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