Be The Change – Episode #12
Service to others is at its core is a selfless act. So many unexpected gifts stream from this one act – reciprocal benefits to the giver and receiver. Our storytellers address this dynamic head-on, describing how giving and receiving the gift of service has changed their lives. It’s important to understand the true meaning of “gift” in this context. A gift, by definition, is “something given voluntarily without expectation of payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; a present.”
Michele Gran, Global Volunteers co-founder, sets the focus of the conversation: “There’s so much richness, knowledge, and innovation in the communities where we work,” she says. Describing community leaders as “Some of the most intelligent, resourceful, gifted people I’ve ever met in my life,” she continues; “It’s here you can observe how people can accomplish so much with so little,” and have so much to give volunteers.
In describing a celebration in Ecuador, Barbara said the greatest gift – hands down – of that program for her husband and her together, was the gratitude, in the form of hugs and kisses from the children, that so clearly summed up the elevated mutual regard they had achieved through service.
A retired couple, Marcia and Greg, say they revere the gifts of understanding and insight every host community has given them. “The love the people share with you….and learning about other cultures and religions is a great gift,” says Greg. Marcia adds she’s learned that yearning for basic needs the world over – safety for our families, clean water and good food, for example – is the gift inside our common humanity.
Gila quickly adds: “You come back with so, so, so much more than you gave.”