Immersive Compassion coming soon

Published 10:25 pm Friday, February 2, 2018

The Compassion Experience is coming to Western Branch later this month, and residents are invited to immersive lessons that help folks fully realize the hardships of impoverished children across the world.

The free, interactive exhibit will be set up in the parking lot outside of Value City Furniture at Chesapeake Square Mall, 4300 Portsmouth Blvd. Compassion International personnel will accept visitors from 11 a.m. to 6:40 p.m. Feb. 9-12.

Compassion International is a child-advocacy ministry that pairs compassionate people with those who are suffering from poverty. More than 700 million people in developing countries live on less than $1.90 daily while facing challenges most Americans never will, according to their website.

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The Compassion Experience is meant to be a visceral representation of some of those challenges.

“We created the Compassion Experience to try to the bring the developing world to American audiences and expose what vulnerabilities children face on less than $2 a day,” Compassion International Marketing Director Steve Spriggs said in a phone interview.

Visitors will experience the lives of Compassion-sponsored children through self-guided tours. Each tour immerses visitors in the lives of these children, using an iPod, headset and an interactive space recreated in the likeness of their real-life dwellings.

They will see the children’s homes, schools and markets to better understand their lives and perspectives.

“Every story you see is a story of a real person, recreated to be almost exactly like that (child’s) school or a scaled down replica, all the way down to the same color of paint on the walls,” Spriggs said.

Each “experience” can take anywhere between 12 minutes to an hour depending on the visitor’s pace, Spriggs said. He recommended that visitors explore with an open mind to understand not only the children’s difficulties but also their hopes for better futures.

“Don’t let it be something you just cruise through,” Spriggs said. “Let it sink in a little bit.”

Visit cts.compassion.com for more information.