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Teaching compassion: Education and volunteerism around the world

While many people believe that kids these days are lazy and self-obsessed, there is reason to believe that they are becoming increasingly empathetic and altruistic, the Huffington Post reports. Although a culture of violence — in video games, television and film — pervades the lives of youth, there are many who thoughtfully resist this culture and place value on co-operation rather than competition, and compassion rather than cruelty. According to POINT (People and Organizations in North Toronto), youth had the highest rate of volunteering of any demographic in 2007, and 93 per cent of volunteers aged 15 and older cited giving back to the community as an important reason to volunteer. Educational institutions are a central pillar in fostering volunteerism among youth. According to an infographic by Open Colleges, 86.2 per cent of students obligated to participate in community service participated beyond the mandatory requirement. Student volunteer rates are highest in New Zealand, Canada and China. The infographic indicates that the average rate of volunteering for university students with service learning in high school is over 77 per cent, as compared to 65 per cent without service learning, suggesting that education helps promote long-term volunteerism…

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