YO-MAD – Young, Ordinary and Making a Difference!
(You don't have to be extra-ordinary to change the world!)
Fenna Martin and Sophie Coxon are two ordinary young people who feel driven to make a positive difference in the world, and to show other young people how living adventurously, in the spirit of Compassionate Action, can transform their own lives and the wider world.
The Compassionate Cornwall Initiative is part of an international movement to change the culture of communities through compassionate action and is about to put Cornwall on the map as the first county in the UK to sign the international Charter for Compassion. (Belfast is the only other UK initiative to have signed, as a Compassionate City.)
Our historic launch will take place at the Eden Project on November 14th. The YO-MAD project is the first phase in the creation of a vibrant youth network, which will light the way for Young, Ordinary people to Make A Difference in Cornwall, the UK, and around the world. The global compassion community is inspired by YO-MAD, and the success of this project will result in significant international action and recognition (see the testimonials below).
The Charter for Compassion is based on the Golden Rule – “Always treat others as you would wish to be treated”. (www.hopeintheheart.org/charterforcompassion/compassionate cornwall)
Compassionate Cornwall has developed an innovative pilot project that will further raise the profile of Cornwall and the UK, creating links with many other countries, inspiring and benefiting local people, especially youth, and supporting communities in Africa with whom we will collaborate throughout the project.
We are crowdfunding to pay for Fenna and Sophie to travel to Africa, where they will gain qualifications, experience and resources that they can bring back to inspire and educate other young people in Cornwall and the UK. Funds will go towards flights and transport, the cost of their training, accommodation, basic food, malaria medication and vaccinations, and some expenses for workshops and film-making with African young people.
Fenna and Sophie (with independently-funded workshop facilitator Tam Martin Fowles) will travel to Cape Town, where they will spend two weeks training to be facilitators of the Virtues Project (a UN-endorsed Character Education Programme that is used in over 100 countries worldwide, but again has not taken off in the UK – yet! www.virtuesproject.com). They will then spend a further four weeks in neighbouring Botswana, where the virtues are being widely used in many contexts.
In both places they will work with fellow partners of Charter for Compassion International, learning how compassionate action is addressing the serious problems that exist in their communities and how these lessons can be translated to offer solutions to problems in our own communities, and sharing good practice developed through Compassionate Cornwall.
With Tam, they will also co-facilitate workshops on the theme “Images of Hope, Words of Compassion” in which Compassionate Cape Town and Botswana’s community members will create personal images of hope, and poems and prose about compassion. Similar workshops will have been taking place across Cornwall during the months leading up to this trip, and simultaneously in Botswana, facilitated by Charter Partner Organisation Art of the Soul (http://botho.co/our-staff/art-of-the-soul/). Later in the year the resulting images and words from Cornwall and Botswana will be combined, shared and simultaneously exhibited in Gaborone (Botswana’s capital) and Cornwall, illustrating the common humanity between two very different cultures, and the potential for partnerships within the compassion movement. They will also be featured in a printed and web-based anthology, and ultimately used as a resource to ignite sparks of hope and compassion in those who view them. We are currently in discussion with the US organisers of Charter for Compassion International about replicating this project internationally following the success of this first phase (see testimonials below).
Cape Town signed the Charter as a Compassionate City in 2013, and Botswana became the Charter’s first Compassionate Country the same year. Both still face many challenges and are recognising, through experience, that compassionate action is the most effective way to tackle them.
Hope in the Heart CIC was founded in February 2013 and offers creative personal development workshops and courses to vulnerable groups and anyone seeking positive change in their lives. The workshops are designed and facilitated by founder Tam Martin Fowles, and a variety of highly qualified professionals. Young volunteers can gain confidence and enrich their own lives through work experience with us. Fenna and Sophie are the first of these; both passionate advocates for positive change, and examples of the potential of young people to make a meaningful difference to their own lives and the global community.
Hope in the Heart's mission is to inspire people to overcome adversity, live with compassion, and understand their place in the global community.
Anyone can sign the Charter for Compassion, and organisations can become Charter Partners, benefiting from the resources, networking and other opportunities offered by a global movement that has become a vast, positive force for change. Cities, towns and countries can launch Compassionate Community Initiatives, creating cultures of compassion in local communities and networks and partnerships nationally and globally.
Such initiatives have become widespread in other parts of the world, including the USA, Africa and Asia, but the uptake has been slower in the UK and Europe (Belfast is currently the only signed-up Compassionate Community in the UK, although many more are working towards signing). Compassionate Cornwall aims to be a prototype of how to lead a successful European initiative so we can advise and mentor other potential initiatives in UK and Europe. The YO-MAD! project will be an important example of how a community’s young people can be at the forefront of its transformation.
We are proud to be a leading light for compassion in our nation, and happy to be recognised by the international compassionate community as such.
Your pledge will help us to help young people to help themselves by helping others. It will also assist in raising awareness of Cornwall all over the world as a leader in compassionate action and the inspiration for others in the UK and Europe to follow suit.
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"Tremendously inspiring, friendly, happy, life-enhancing, creative, educational ... I gained a huge sense of increased well-being, joy, hope and happiness at just the completely right time in my journey … Fenna and Sophie gave an excellent heartwarming presentation for Hope in the Heart. I hope their committed contributions will draw funding for their proposed trip to Botswana next year. Please support them and wish them well on their journey as they continue to inspire with such passion."
– Lesley Smith, workshop participant and Founder of Swings and Roundabouts Mental Health Support Group.
"It is perhaps the most constructive and focused recovery tool I have come across.....this workshop has reminded me of the enormous, profound effect of creativity and self-expression."
– Libby Sprite, workshop participant and Community Arts Project Leader
"We believe that 'Images of Hope, Words of Compassion' is a powerful initiative that will bring about hope and inspire people into compassionate action, fuelling them with creativity and empathy through workshops in Botswana and Cornwall … WIthout reservation we applaud Compassionate Cornwall in leading this project. It is our honor not only to endorse them, but also to offer our services and partners on the ground to realize this noble project."
– Dr Magdalena Whoolery, Co-Founder of Botho the Compassion Movement (http://botho.co)
From the USA
"This is a very special and unique project. The sharing of the workshops will help teachers [and] leaders globally and I forsee these being used by many after this first round. It will be wonderful to have a simultaneous opening of the exhibit in Cornwall and Gaborone on the same day/hour, and we will feature the images and writings on the international Voices Compassionate Education site."
– Marilyn Turkovich, Co-Director of Charter for Compassion International
"I am so appreciative of what you are proposing and planning here! Culturally, images of compassion in action are far too scarce, yet we know humans model what we see both consciously and subliminally and emotions and behavior then follow. Our brains are awash with images that stimulate corresponding neurons and chemicals that can foster despair instead of hope and easily send us into grief and overwhelm at the state of the world. This leads to despair and inertia. This project intends to produce new images by illustrating active compassion. This promises to fundamentally change the brain, and will condition people to see with their hearts – something the world urgently needs. This project will be life changing not only for the participants but for all those impacted by the positive imaging coming out of this endeavor are the world. This project deserves the highest priority because of its proven leadership and because it is art in service to the world."
– Barbara Kaufmann, Head of Arts Sector, Charter for Compassion International, Author and Artist