On February 25th, The Southwest CDC hosted the Crossing Guard Community Convening, with 18 crossing guards that patrol the various corners of Southwest Philadelphia attending the event. Annette Mattei, part of the Paschalville Partnership, led the discussion which focused around the Three Gifts, why they became crossing guards, and the Southwest community.
The main focus of the convening was the Three Gifts, which come from the Head, Hand, and Heart. These gifts can be considered talents, skills, interest(s), or passions that one may possess. During the first part of the discussion, many of the Crossing Guards learned they had some gifts in common with each other. The gifts shared by the Guards include — head: knowledge, keeping others in mind and street safety; hand: cooking and helping others; heart: caring for the children/elderly, donations and friendships. Gifts from the head include knowledge or teachings. Gifts from the hand are most commonly physical and tangible. Gifts from the heart are empathy or compassion. The great thing about these gifts, is that they can all be shared with others. After breaking the ice with this activity, Ms. Mattei changed gears to find out what drove them to become guards.
Among the reasons many of them became Crossing Guards, the most common was their love of children. Many of them feel that this job helps them make an impact on the community as well as the children that live there. Since not all children come from healthy home environments, it is apparent when the children the guards see everyday are in a bad mood or something is upsetting them. It’s during these times that crossing guards really shine — going out of their way to interact with the youth so that they possibly change their mood. “Just a few words you say can change a child’s mood and brighten their day,” one of the guards stated passionately.
The crossing guards of Southwest have a strong sense of love and compassion for the children they see everyday — almost as if they were their own kids. Being around has not only allowed them to watch the children as they grow, but the community as well. They noted that the violence in the community is a real problem and makes them worry for their children as well as the ones they watch. They’d really like it if the community had more resources and safe places for kids.
The Crossing Guards in Southwest care deeply about the children and the community. Make sure you thank them the next time you get the chance for sharing their gifts and time with the community.
What are some gifts that you bring to others or the community?