Latest News from California

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• Compassionate Pomona in partnership with The Human Values Center and Latino/a Roundtable is the recipient of an ARPA grant from the City of Pomona: Free, Fun 30-Day Compassionate Pomona App-Based Wellbeing Challenge. The challenge began April 17, 2023 A youth-based challenge will take place this fall

• A Compassionate California Collaboration is the recipient of a 1-year community wellbeing grant in Pomona from Tri-City Mental Health The grant project serves kids ages 0-5 and their families and is based on our Character Champions Compassion Counts Program The grant year begins July 1, 2023 Article below.



Compassionate Pomona received an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant from the City of Pomona in partnership with The Human Values Center and Latino/a Roundtable. We invited 25 local nonprofits and service agencies, particularly those serving the most negatively affected by COVID, with negative impact to mental health and wellbeing, to join us in a gamified challenge that promotes positive mindset, self-healing and care, and actions of kindness and connection.

The purpose of this challenge was to co-create a community space – easy to access, through an app on our phones – to cultivate compassionate cultures by implementing tools to cultivate values of compassion first in the individual and communicating to reverberate throughout the community.

This challenge focused on 4 pillars: Self Knowledge and Self-care; Fostering relationships with others: worldview expansion, storytelling, and story listening; Imagining the future we want; and Compassionate Action (emphasis on service to others, care for self, and connection to the earth/planet). The Challenge was offered in English and in Spanish and was promoted throughout the community.

We are pleased to share that there were 2,960 participatory learning steps taken during the challenge, with 1,473 acts of compassion between Pomona community members. Several people reported meeting new people, a sign of breaking down barriers between organizations. Many people reported finding the meditation practices and other videos educational and fun. We look forward to launching a youth-based challenge this fall, with an emphasis on ‘Choosing Love’.

Congratulations to Pomona community members Brenda Shultz, Ariana Rangel, and Gloria Rojas for being our challenge champions!

Reported by Liz Burgis, The Human Values Center,, 480.600.6623; Member, Compassionate Pomona,


is the recipient of a 1-year community wellbeing grant in Pomona!

The California Collaboration: Character Champions Foundation, Compassionate Pomona, Compassionate California, Human Values Center … Pomona (local), California, and Beyond.

The Grant: Tri-City Mental Health 2023-2024 Community Wellbeing Grant [Tri-City = Pomona, Claremont, La Verne; 1 year grant: July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024]. The overall purpose of TriCity’s grant program is to increase social connection and help improve the mental, emotional and social health of the community.

The grant project - referred to as Compassion Counts in Pomona - is a multi-purpose project addressing the wellbeing needs / challenges of children ages 0-5 and their families in the City of Pomona – high population need with low preschool program enrollment rate among a list of challenges.

Though focused on critical early childhood years (0-5), and incorporating unique aspects (puppets, city-wide messaging, expanded access to child and family resource materials, etc.), the basic building blocks of the grant project are derived from the Character Champions Compassion Counts in California and Beyond Program. Both the Compassion Counts Program and the specific Pomona grant project use a shared wellbeing language and a colorful wellbeing set of values / principles that can work alongside / not compete with other educational programs. They are centered around 8 Compassion Kids who each represent a different compassion value / principle. There are 6 Compassion Counts values - Compassion, Responsibility, Knowledge, Courage, Kindness and Respect - plus 2 additional principles which support the 6 values - Growth Mindset and Synergy.

Temple Uses Compassion, Amin Takes Responsibility, Albert Seeks Knowledge, Cesar Shows Courage, Ling Shares Kindness, Martin Gives Respect, Cali Uses a Growth Mindset, and Kai Works & Plays Together (Synergy).

designed with messaging as a major component, with the Compassion Kids becoming recognizable icons , reinforcing the values and positive wellbeing.

The specific Pomona grant project is an interactive bilingual (English & Spanish) wellbeing program that teaches young children social-emotional learning skills using storytelling

Temple Amin Albert Kai Cali Cesar Ling Martin

(including Muppet style puppets), art, music, and movement / dance to make learning fun. Child and family resources will be made available at major city events where the Compassion Kids appear. The grant project is also being designed with messaging as a major component, with the Compassion Kids becoming recognizable icons / trusted messengers across Pomona over time (in schools, civic / public buildings, healthcare centers / hospitals, religious organizations, murals, art centers, etc.), reinforcing the values and positive wellbeing.

A major goal of our collaboration is to expand initial financing beyond the awarded Tri-City funds, and, of course, to sustain the program in Pomona in perpetuity. After the initial grant phase, we expect to expand the reach of aspects of the project to Compassionate Communities in the greater Pomona Valley / Inland Empire (a major Compassion Hub in California, east of Los Angeles), across the great state of California, and beyond.

If you haven’t met the Compassion Kids yet or introduced them to the children / students in your network, please visit and for the current Compassion Counts in California and Beyond components. You can also hear the music that goes with our programs, including the Compassion Counts Lyrics Video (60K views as of this post), and VLC (Valuable, Lovable, Capable) Music Videos (recently posted) on the Character Champions YouTube Channel. (Please fully view videos, like, and share! Thank you!)

Introduce the Compassion Kids to your youngest family members with a shared coloring family activity using the FREE Storybook: Compassion Kids, Compassion Kids, What Do You See? as we work together to spread compassion through our families and our communities.

Be sure to check back for updates reflecting the latest changes in the Compassion Counts Program. Compassion Kids, Compassion Kids, What Do You See? will be posted soon.

Diana Chavez Ketterman, Ph.D.,,, 909.732.6224

Jo Ann Gaines, 310.200.3598

Rev. Jan Chase, 909.896.0991

Laura M. Burgis, Ph.D., 480.227.1366



The passage by the California State Legislature of Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR)-18 titled “Compassionate California” is a milestone accomplishment. It declares California the first “Compassionate” State in the nation and firmly establishes California as a national leader in the movement.

We, here in California (and the worldwide collective, of course) have some distance to travel to truly say we live in a State of Compassion, but the California Resolution is a big step forward. The Resolution recognizes the benefits of compassionate action through every sector of our civic and community life, and California as a model of compassion. It lays the groundwork for growing compassionate public policy and governance.

With the passage of the Compassionate California Resolution, there is increased energy around real-time engagement of individuals, organizations, businesses, schools / universities and other institutions, and our communities to create a place for positive change that will impact our future. It gives birth to a whole new phase of compassionate values-based activity within the State of California, and beyond.

SCR-18 was introduced by Senator Dave Cortese, representing Senate District 15. You might be surprised to know that the Resolution unanimously passed both the CA State Senate (32-0) and Assembly (73-0) and became effective immediately with its filing with the Secretary of State on September 10, 2021.

The California Legislature was supported in the compassionate values-based initiative by Compassionate Leaders, Communities and Partners within the network of the organization also named “Compassionate California” , with support from the international Charter for Compassion.

The Core California Leadership Team for SCR-18:

Girish Shah, San Jose area

Laura Hansen, Sacramento area

Lisa A. Berkley, Ph.D., Monterey area

Jo Ann Gaines, Los Angeles area

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