Sara Schairer

Sara Schairer

Founder of Compassion It

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Sara Schairer, the founder of a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring compassionate actions and attitudes, will discuss “Creating a Culture of Compassion in Education” when she visits Northwest Missouri State University to present its fall Ploghoft Diversity Lecture.

“Our committee is always looking for speakers who represent current trends in multicultural education to help us prepare our pre-service teachers to develop culturally responsive educators,” said David Kiene, an associate professor in the School of Education and chair of the Ploghoft Diversity Lecture, in a statement. “Sara’s ideas of empathy and compassion provide relevancy for our students as they begin a journey to engage with their own future students. Attendees will gain insight on how to create a culture of compassion not just for the classroom but for their everyday lives.”

Schairer is the founder and executive director of Compassion It and a facilitator of the Compassion Cultivation Training course developed at Stanford University. She leads trainings for audiences of all walks of life, from big tech leaders to inmates. She led compassion trainings in Africa sponsored by the Botswana Ministries of Health and Education and spent a week at a Rwandan refugee camp working on unleashing compassion within its health care system.

Schairer gives talks and leads experiential workshop about everyday compassion, self-compassion, burnout prevention and mindfulness. She also created a one-of-a-kind reversible Compassion It wristband, prompting compassionate actions on six continents, more than 50 countries and all 50 states.

She is a contributing author to the book “The Neuroscience of Learning and Development: Enhancing Creativity, Compassion, Critical Thinking and Peace in Education” and writes for Deepak Chopra’s Center for Well-being website.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Boardroom. Face coverings will be required for all attendees in alignment with Northwest’s COVID-19 mitigation measures.

Northwest’s Ploghoft Diversity Lecture series is funded through the lasting generosity of the late Milton Ploghoft and his wife, Zella. The series features speakers and activities that broaden the educational perspectives of Northwest teacher candidates and inform all students about the issues facing the education of students from diverse environments.

Ploghoft, a 1949 Northwest alumnus, authored a number of textbooks in the social studies and lived abroad for many years, founding the College of Education in Kano, Nigeria, lecturing at Saigon University and leading the university’s international programs in such disparate places as Chile, Cameroun, Botswana, the Yucatan, Swaziland and in what was then South Vietnam.

In 1992, he became the founding editor of the African Education Research Network. He was professor emeritus at Ohio University at the time of his death in 2018.

Zella, who passed away in 2010, completed her elementary and secondary education at Horace Mann Laboratory School at Northwest.

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