Toledo among cities tracking goodwill in Compassion GamesWritten by Tom Konecny | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo is officially taking part in its first Compassion Games, a global competition designed to make communities safer and more kind, held annually Sept. 11-21.
“The headlines are all the murders and blight, but we don’t necessarily celebrate all the good things that Toledo’s doing,” said Judy Trautman, team chair.
During the eleven days of “coopetition” – as organizers call it – over 80 cities around the globe will track their efforts through categories such as their number of volunteers and service hours, dollars raised and people reached.
In order to have efforts included in the overall total, groups and individuals must register their work at compassionatetoledo.org, where Trautman indicates that over 30 have registered, but said he knows there are plenty of others out there who simply need to sign up.
Toledo was named a Compassionate Community this past April when Mayor D. Michael Collins, Toledo City Council and Lucas County commissioners all signed the Charter for Compassion. The designation is a long-range commitment to highlight compassionate groups and individuals, and to encourage and facilitate collaborative solutions to critical issues.
The Compassion Games began in 2012 between Louisville and Seattle, and have steadily grown in popularity since. The start and end dates are intentional, meant to commemorate the events of 9/11 and the oft-forgotten International Day of Peace on Sept. 21.
“People just kind of pull out all the stops in that window of time to show their compassionate work,” Trautman said. “I get accused of being serious all the time, but this appealed to me because it’s fun to do.”
Local event organizers even held a compassion networking convention with 90 displays at the SeaGate Centre this past April, and found others who wanted to help the cause.
Barb Colvin of Toledo is a retired nurse who attended the convention and decided that “if we’re ever going to make a difference, then we need to do the things we know how to do.”
Though planners are clearly keeping score at compassiongames.org, it’s everyone who wins.
“That’d be great if Toledo got more points than the larger cities, but I’m not looking at that,” Colvin said. “My focus is right here locally.”
With Toledo’s top officials in full support of the Compassion Games, Colvin is hopeful, because that’s exactly how it worked in Louisville and Seattle – with mayors who were “gung ho for this, and it helped it to move along.”
Trautman noted that the head global organizers have already taken note of the aggressive work by Toledo’s team, which is comprised of local religious and civic leaders.
“Toledo is its own best secret,” Colvin said. “Getting involved in this group has broadened my mind. I’m real familiar with a lot of the food pantries, but I learned about more things that are happening and I think we somehow need to make that apparent to the average person in Toledo. I personally have a lot of hope and I don’t lose that, and I know we can do it.”