Compassion is defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.
Millions of Americans felt compassion for the victims of last month’s Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Students at Rock Falls High School decided to take their compassion to the next level.
Freshman Rhyanna Hadden and her friends, guided by faculty, came up with a plan to raise money to buy memorial trees in honor of the 26 victims.
Doing so, Hadden believes, will honor their lives and perpetuate their memories.
“Trees are living memorials. They represent life,” she said.
So, how do a bunch of high school students raise money?
Hadden started with a goal of $250 for her “Hands of Care” project. She and her friends spread the word as school resumed after the holidays.
Within the very first day, the teens met their goal.
Realizing she was on to something, Hadden widened her horizon. She made a presentation to hundreds of students at three Twin Cities high schools -- Rock Falls, Sterling and Newman. She challenged them to join “Hands of Care.”
Hadden and her friends raised money at a bake sale. Newman students came up with donations through a dress-down day.
A week after “Hands of Care” began, donations had reached $1,500.
The students continue to collect contributions. People may make out checks to “Rock Falls High School,” write “Hands of Care” in the memo line, and send them to Rock Falls High School, Attention: Hands of Care, 101 12th Ave., Rock Falls, IL 61071.
For further information, people may contact the school guidance counselor, Margo Jakobs, at 815-625-3886.
By taking on such a project, Hadden, 15, has shown maturity beyond her years. “Hands of Care” speaks well of her, her friends, her mentors, and the students at all participating high schools.
The successful project all started because of the compassion felt by one student in the face of tragedy.
“We can’t take life for granted. That could have been us. That could have been our town falling apart. Now, we have to build them up,” Hadden said.
We urge the public to open their hearts and wallets, pitch in and help.