Williamsburg setting example

During this time when compassion and aid toward fellow human beings is so much an issue on the national scene, due to the immigration crisis on America’s southern border, it is uplifting whenever anyone has the opportunity to witness how the spirit of love, compassion, understanding and human concern can take center stage without creating controversy along the way.

Most importantly, it is great when an example of that right approach and correct path is happening right here in Blair County.

Consider what will be happening in the Williamsburg Community School District, going forward, as a result of school board action earlier this month on behalf of the local group Creative Compassions, whose membership is primarily students of the district.

The board authorized Creative Compassions to use high school facilities to make items for distribution to the elderly and others in need. Beyond that, the board approved a series of field trips for students involved in the program to deliver the items.

It is important to note that Creative Compassions is much more than just a make-and-deliver program. Like the people who are beneficiaries of the students’ efforts, the students themselves also benefit from their participation.

And that positive impact on students can last for the rest of their lives and spill over to people with whom they will be interacting in the years ahead, long after they have gotten their high school diplomas.

By participating in the program, they gain a broader perspective of life, particularly others’ challenges. Through the people they meet while being participants in the program, they learn some of the ways getting older affects people, perhaps in ways that they never have witnessed within their own family or families of friends.

During the process of helping people in need who aren’t senior citizens or disabled, the students gain insight into the importance of making right decisions for their own lives, while acknowledging that someone being in need isn’t necessarily indicative that that person has lived his or her life recklessly or irresponsibly.

Compassion, concern and friendliness go a long way toward bringing optimism to some people who are in need of an upbeat experience, or just the knowledge that someone wants to help them and offer kindness, even if only in a small way.

Williamsburg school directors had an extra incentive for embracing Creative Compassions. It was Patricia Kensinger, a board member, who started the program 10 years ago and remains committed to what it has to offer.

Last school year, 55 students signed up for the group, a big improvement over the eight or nine students who participated during the first year. Participants get service hours for their work, which fulfills part of their high school graduation requirements.

However, Kensinger believes that the students participate for more than the service-hours incentive.

“They (students) just love taking the things to the people and giving them out, seeing the joy that it gives them.”

With the school board’s action earlier this month having given Creative Compassions a boost, the program is poised for another laudable year of service.