Why We Need a Compassionate Community
By Sophia Nangia, Lawrence Community Shelter Volunteer
I had the opportunity to volunteer at the EconoLodge during the time there was a hotel voucher program for families and high-risk individuals experiencing homelessness. One of the greatest things I noticed was the amount of support and compassion shown by the staff, volunteers, and clients. The compassion the staff and volunteers showed towards the clients was amazing because I saw how much they cared about each and every one of the clients; they were there to listen and help in any way they could. In addition to the staff, I saw a community within the clients staying at the hotel. The clients showed so much love and support for each other; the families with kids had other kids to play with, mothers and mothers-to-be had each other to lean on, and the other individuals had friends and companions.
Support systems within a community are so important in helping, inspiring, and advocating for the ones we care about, and compassion aids in developing those crucial support systems. The homeless population in Douglas county, and around the country, are often not treated with respect or dignity. People discriminate against homeless individuals on a daily basis, which makes their lives even harder. That is why we need compassion: To create an environment full of support and kindness to aid the most vulnerable populations. The Golden Rule is to treat others the way you want to be treated, and that is exactly what we should be doing. We should be contributing to the kindness and compassion that already exists in the world in order to override all the aversive circumstances in society.
The Lawrence Community Shelter is one organization that is a support system for many people facing homelessness. The shelter is a place that cares for the well being of all homeless individuals, and as their mission says, they “offer a safe haven for individuals and families facing homelessness.” Homelessness is a tough issue involving many struggles and emotions. Once we as a community in Douglas County see the need for an increase in compassion, the end of homelessness is increasingly possible.