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Service is Contagious

Contributed by Julie Rogers Bascom, Service-Learning Coordinator at Edina Public Schools and board member of Doing Good Together


I love the fall – – it’s a chance to regroup after a summer of rejuvenation, recreating and re-creating. Many of us are preparing – getting kids ready for school, closing up summer venues and checking to make sure the house is ready for winter.

The Shinnyo-en Temple in Chicago took time in August to ready their community on their path to peace with its second Family Service Event, hosted in partnership with Doing Good Together.

web5About eighty temple and outside community members came to the event and, like they did in 2012, tied blankets for their neighbors in need at the Kenneth Young Center, made Play-doh and birthday bags for children who are part of the WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger) program, and wrote letters of encouragement for children facing challenging health issues. Several other service projects made for organizations like Humanitarian Service Project, offered participants a chance to make an impact on issues that face people in their neighborhoods. Participants were eager to hear stories from the representatives of these organizations who took time out of their Sunday to be with us and share their work.

One family, with a 3-year-old, excitedly watched the flurry of activity. When encouraged to participate in decorating a card for a girl with a serious illness, the mother said,

“I think my son is too little.”

“Not at all. Let’s offer him a chance.”

Even as young as three, children understand the concept of compassion.

web6For many communities that Doing Good Together works with, a Family Service Event encourages a culture of service – bringing together children, parents and community members working toward a common goal. Doing Good Together is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, encourage and equip families to volunteer together, to spend time with loved ones while also helping the larger world. Executive Director Dr. Jenny Friedman has collaborated with three other Shinnyo-en temple communities this past year to bring this valuable opportunity to their areas as a way to engage in their own neighborhood and addressing current needs.

This activity can even spur further action: “Making these tie blankets is so easy,” said one member. “I get together regularly with four friends and I’m going to suggest that we spend time each month doing something like blanket tying as a way for us to grow together as friends and make an impact on our community.”

Contagious – that’s what service can be. In our homes, in our schools, in our neighborhoods – – when we come together to address the common good, we are preparing to impact our world and strengthen our interconnectedness.

Julie, and SEF Program Director, Ineko Tsuchida

Julie Rogers Bascom and SEF Program Director, Ineko Tsuchida

Julie Rogers Bascom is a service-learning leader in Minneapolis and the Foundation was lucky to have her by our side to facilitate this event. She brings to the table years of experience, having embraced Six Billion Paths to Peace since its inception in the 90s, and she continues to collaborate with others in the field by sharing her work in the Edina Public School District with independent schools such as The Blake School. 

This Family Service Event also took place during a very special time at the Chicago Temple. Originating in Japan, the Shinjo Ito Family Busts made their way across the US this year, making stops at Shinnyo-en USA temples and allowing members a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the busts. The busts of the Shinnyo-en Buddhism founders and two of their children are extremely important to practitioners and allow them to concentrate on the enlightened beings and the qualities of the enlightened minds they manifested.


Thank you to all the benefiting organizations who joined us for this fun morning!

Thank you to all the benefiting organizations who joined us for this fun morning!