"Empathy Team" ZOOMS-in on EMPATHY with Mercy Center Ministries Homeless Shelter Staff
March 19, 2021
ZOOMING In on Empathy
“Who invented empathy?” This was among the many questions asked by Sayville elementary students districtwide at a recent Empathy ZOOM Assembly hosted by Sunrise Drive Principal Dr. James Foy.
During S.T.R.I.D.E.S. Empathy month, Sunrise Drive’s “Team Empathy” organized this Empathy Assembly—via ZOOM—and invited the entire school, including all districtwide elementary remote learners, and District Administrators as a way of reinforcing the month-long theme. Prior to the assembly, the Sunrise Drive community had put sympathy into action and demonstrated empathy by holding a supply drive for Mercy Center Ministries Homeless Shelter that cares for young mothers and their children.
In the ZOOM meeting, Dr. Foy introduced Mercy Center Ministries Homeless Shelter Executive Director Briana Taylor and Melissa Austin and asked them to explain to the Sayville participants who and how the shelter serves the homeless.
Briana Taylor and Melissa Austin first thanked Sayville for demonstrating empathy which helped the residents—four people who live with their children—in a particular shelter in Sayville. Such donations that support the shelters directly help the residents with a temporary but stable home while they acquire life skills and job skills that improve their options to become independent and self-sustaining.
“Empathy is a superpower,” Taylor said. “This power comes from a feeling in your heart that helps you imagine the pain of another and makes you want to reach out and help others. Thank you for sharing your superpower—empathy—with the women and children in our shelter.”
Taylor and Austin also fielded insightful questions from the students about how empathy differs from sympathy, how long the residents remained in the shelter, how many people are served by the shelter each year, who launched the Mercy Center Ministries Homeless Shelter, and how the home dealt with Coronavirus.
After answering these questions, Taylor summed up the shelter as a “stepping stone in the life” of a young family that needs the help at a certain time in their lives. “I don’t want anyone to come away from this ZOOM meeting feeling bad [about the homeless] because they come here and receive a lot of help, they do much better in their lives with jobs, family connections, and finding their own homes.”
Concluding the meeting, Dr. Foy thanked the Mercy Center Ministries staff. “Things you are doing there are absolutely wonderful.” Foy also spoke to the children. “Boys and girls, you’re awesome! Thank you to our Empathy team.”