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Founded in 2022, Campassion was created by Boston Public School teacher Kathleen Chiong who has a passion to teach kids that not only is service easy, it's fun!
During the school year, Kathleen runs service-based projects with her students. Each month, her classroom chooses a nonprofit from the Greater Boston area to support. Their projects have helped organizations such as Hope & Comfort, Birthday Wishes, Friends of Boston’s Homeless, and the New England Center and Home for Veterans. Their projects have helped to collect thousands of items for organizations.
Kathleen has witnessed firsthand the magic that comes when kids find joy in helping others. She's seen her students come out of their shells to create videos to inspire other kids to make valentines for homeless veterans. Kids collaborating with one another while counting tubes of toothpaste for those in need of access to hygiene products. And even making sock puppets to rally up their peers to donate socks for those facing housing insecurity.
On the very last day of school one year, a few of Kathleen's students didn't want to have "free time." They asked instead to take videos of themselves to talk about why they liked their service projects. After asking them why they didn't want to have free time, one student said, "I can play games or go on the computer all summer, but I can't do this."
And that's where the idea of Campassion first came to be.
Kathleen Chiong is from Newton, Massachusetts and graduated from The College of the Holy Cross in 2011, majoring in psychology. She conducted cognitive neuroscience research at Holy Cross and Yale University for three years and founded and ran the college's first neuroscience club on campus. But her life changed one day near the very end of her college career.
At Holy Cross, each club is required to get involved in service. And so, Kathleen chose to teach students in the Worcester community all about the brain during "Brain Awareness Week." After just a few moments of smiling and laughing with a few kids about optical illusions, she knew she had to smile and laugh like that every day. And so, she moved back to Boston, received her Master's in Elementary Education, and officially switched careers.
She began her teaching at the Jackson Mann K-8 Elementary School in Allston, teaching second grade. After three years, she moved to The Eliot K-8 Innovation School in the North End where she currently works as a third grade teacher.
Kathleen is the 2020 grant recipient of the WETeachers Award for Massachusetts for her service projects. Within the organization, she is involved in teaching other teachers how to implement gratitude and civic responsibility in the classroom.