Compassionate Huntington Beach
With eight miles of continuous beachfront, fresh ocean breezes, and a thriving community, it would seem that Huntington Beach might not fit the profile to become a city of compassion. In many ways, Huntington Beach is already a compassionate city due to the large number of its citizens who are active in service clubs, houses of worship, community groups and city-sponsored projects that are in support of others. Yet there are still needs that call out for compassionate attention.
When the Huntington Beach City Council, then led by Mayor Connie Boardman, signed the Charter for Compassion in November, 2013, they were aware that this is a compassionate community, but they also realized that applying compassion to policymaking would greatly enhance the way in which the city is governed.* (see proclamation below)
Led by Mayor Boardman and Rev. Dr. Peggy Price, of the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council, a group was formed to begin work on Compassionate Huntington Beach. A needs analysis was accomplished and in the process it was determined where there was more work to do.
As a result of that early meeting, Ralph Bauer, a former mayor of Huntington Beach began a study of homelessness and ways to alleviate it in our city. Other areas were defined as well, including our environment, our ocean, children in need, elderly, and hunger.
The convening organization of Compassionate Huntington Beach is the Greater Huntington Beach Interfaith Council. In collaboration with the city of Huntington Beach, the LDS church, and other civic groups our first Compassionate day of Service was held in April, 2014. Approximately 1000 community members were mobilized to clean up parks, do handyman work in homes of shut-ins, paint picnic tables, paint fire rings at the beach, clean up our wetlands, and more.
The first ever Compassion Games for the city is in planning stages now. Many community organizations such as Assistance League, houses of worship, Surfrider Foundation, Shipley Nature Center, Bolsa Chica Land Trust, Rotary, Soroptimists and more are joining forces to raise awareness of the good work being done as well as to encourage others in the community to participate.
The program has met with enthusiastic support across religious, ethnic, and political lines. It is clear that people yearn for a more compassionate society in light of recent events in our nation and the world. The work is best accomplished neighbor to neighbor, hand to hand, and heart to heart. It is never about what is wrong with our city, but it is about what we can do to make it even better for all of its residents.
*PROCLAMATION OF THE CITY OF HUNTINGTON BEACH
Charter for Compassion
Whereas, By becoming part of a compassionate city, region, or nation, citizens become empowered to develop a sense of cooperation and reinvigorated hope, and
Whereas, the city Council of Huntington Beach has voted to accept the Charter for Compassion and support its values, and
Whereas, by affirming the charter agreed to develop programs to support Compassionate action and an awareness of compassion and it's policies and activities, and
Whereas, by engaging the public in communitywide service programs such as the compassionate day of service in April of each year and the compassion games each September 11-21 will support the charter for compassion and
Whereas, the city will invite community organizations, houses of worship, civic clubs and schools to participate in upholding these values of compassion, and
Whereas, scientific research is revealing that the early intervention with Compassionate policies with at risk youth shows great promise for positive change, and
Whereas, Compassionate programs could ultimately save city money that they might otherwise use for dealing with social issues and the cost of crime
Now therefore, I, Connie Boardman, Mayor of the City of Huntington Beach, on behalf of the City Council, resolve that the City of Huntington Beach has adopted compassion as a key policy for our community and further resolved that the exploration of and development of policies, procedures, tactics, and practical guidance on the integration of compassion and programs to address the holistic wellness of this community, especially as it relates to those most at risk.
Dated this 20th day of November 2013
Connie Boardman, Mayor
Submitted by Rev. Dr. Peggy Price
"The compassionate cities movement is highly necessary in today's world. I think, globally, we really need a more compassionate attitude."
His Holiness, the Dalai Lama
The purpose of the Compassion Games is to make everyone aware how easy it is to put a little compassion in the lives of another and improve the community we share. Come join us and see how your life is enriched by random acts of compassion.
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