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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Videos about Kindness, Compassion and Service (part 2 of 2)

updated 11/17/20

posted by Catharine Hannay

One of my main goals with this site is to make teachers' lives easier by providing a mix of original content and links to resources on values-based teaching.

This week's focus is on empathy and aid for people from differing backgrounds.  The videos are appropriate for classes where you're teaching about different cultures, promoting respect for other groups, and/or inspiring your students to take small (or big) actions to help those around them. 

For those of you who teach older kids, teens, or adults I've provided a brief description of each video to help you decide what might fit best with your curriculum and your students' interests.  At the end of the post, I've listed several questions to spark reflection and discussion about how we can develop greater understanding and can most effectively help one another.

If you teach very young kids, your best bet is the video about the 4-year-old in Kenya (video #2).  You probably don't want to get into the idea of a "bucket list" or the statistics about young children dying from lack of clean water; if you show only :31-1:57 , your students will see a little boy who goes on an adventure, and you can talk about his feelings as he does things for the first time (for example, he's happy in a bubble bath but scared by the ocean).  I'd also recommend the two versions of "Kindness Boomerang" from Videos about Kindness, part 1, as well as the music videos "Home" and "True Colors" from The Sound of Compassion 2.

Japanese boys scavenge for food for their families and neighbors after their village is destroyed by a tsunami.

A four-year-old Kenyan boy gets a chance to do everything on his bucket list, since statistically there’s a good chance he won’t make it until age 5. (More information at

A terminally-ill 7-year-old from Canada inspires a whole town to celebrate Christmas early.

A 30-year-old British woman takes a dog from an animal refuge to meet elderly women with dementia, and together they bring back memories.

Foster grandparents in the U.S. mentor kids and help them learn.

A Muslim girl and a Jewish girl perform a poem about what they have in common.

A Muslim businessman makes a generous donation to a Christian charity and develops an inter-religious friendship.

Muslim Gives Presents To Homeless For Christmas 

A Christian Church Welcomes Their Muslim Neighbors

Kids experience a night of poverty at a “global village.” (FYI: the narrator mentions "their privileged position as Americans" but one of the sites is meant to represent Appalachia, in the U.S.)  This video is no longer available: Here's a replacement video about the Heifer Global Village, showing white adults from the U.S. learning about conditions in some other parts of the world: Village in U.S. Teaches about Worldwide Poverty


Veronika Scott spoke with homeless people in Detroit about how to meet their needs, then turned a class project into a nonprofit that provides coats and jobs for the homeless. (More information at

Volunteer Service International asked representatives from partner organizations in Vanuatu and South Africa to explain what makes a good volunteer. (You might also be interested in Mindful Teachers' interview with Baudeler Magloire about effective aid for Haiti, and Mindful Teachers' interview with American midwife Heidi Ricks about her experiences volunteering in Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and Morocco.)

Questions for Reflection and Discussion
  • Would we treat people differently if we could see through their eyes?  Did your perspective change on any of the groups portrayed in these videos?  How and why did it change?
  • Have you had any positive experiences with someone from a different generation?  How did they help you?  What did you learn from them?
  • Have you or someone close to you ever experienced a natural disaster or a serious illness?  Was there someone who helped you?
  • If one person gets a lot of help or some kind of special treatment, how can that impact the rest of their family and community?
  • Do you have a friend from a different background?  What do you have in common?  How do you help one another?
  • Do/Would you give money to an organization run by members of a different religion from yours?  Why or why not?
  • Why is it important to get input from the people who will be receiving aid?
  • What advice would you give to someone who wanted to come from another country to volunteer in your community?


related posts:

Community Service Projects, Pre-K Through College

Mindfulness and Compassion in West Africa (interview)

The Sound of Compassion 2: Songs for Reflection and Discussion

Videos about Compassion, Kindness, and Service (part 1 of 2) 

Video Playlist: Building Community Through the Arts