Watch the video of Martha Wilkinson’s short talk at TEDxExeter 2013.
Scroll down the page for the Live blogs of the talks.
Videos about Volunteering
Live blogs about Volunteering
Martha (another dragon tamer?!) is giving us the etymology of “community philanthropy”:
Community – from munos “a gift” and cum “with, among one another”
Philanthropy – “the love of humanity” in Greek
She has a slide of Brueghel’s painting of “The Fall of Icarus”. It’s not about Icarus, but about apathy. While Icarus drowns in the sea, the farmer continues to plough, the shepherd dreams, the ship sails on by. What seems to be an image of idyllic existence is actually a picture of passing suffering by.
Suffering is difficult to see; we have to choose to look for it. But everywhere there are community philanthropists, also known as volunteers, who are acting, and building compassionate communities.
Martha’s questions for us to ponder: “What suffering are you walking past? And what are the gifts you would like to give?”
A gem of a short talk. Coffee time!
Martha is also on Twitter
… has discovered that he can sing this morning.
Volunteers are a vital part of his local charity’s work. If you want something done, ask a busy person. He’s asked us to raise our hands if we volunteer, closing our eyes if no-one wants to see us. Most of us have. Why do we volunteer? We might have experienced or have a family member that has experienced illness, or we want to give something back, or we act from a faith or humanist motivation.
Alistair has two even better reasons. Volunteering is about a reciprocal relationship, that gives back to us at least as much as we give to those we support: a new skill; recognition of our need to be needed; improved health and mental well-being; reduced isolation; a connection with others’ vulnerability and our common humanity. It also connects us with our local community, sustaining a healthy neighbourhood and society, creating the warp and weft of existence. This is why the long-hours culture, which reduces the opportunity for volunteering, is so damaging.
To summarise his two mintues, volunteering could change your life… for good.