Good News: The Value of One, The Power of Many

There is more Good News in The World than Bad

Volunteer Canada’s theme this year for National Volunteer week is The Value of ONE, The Power of Many. There is no doubt in the right situation one’s actions combined with many others can result in a A GOOD NEWS STORY and A GOOD HAPPENING.

Here are two stories that prove this adage:

The first is a story I read in a recent BTC (Bruce Trail Conservancy ) newsletter. The BTC was started by volunteers in 1967. Their mission is to protect and steward land along the Niagara Escarpment.  However, it is best known for its 900 km hiking trail.

They have a few paid staff but most of the work is done by their many volunteers. The BTC newsletter reported the BTC had just made an acquisition of 275 acres in the Pine River Nature Reserve in the Dufferin Hills area of Southern Ontario. The money to buy the land came from 2150 donors. Each of the individual donors created value by making a donation for this purpose. The power though came when each of the 2150 donations were pooled together providing enough money to buy this property. The end result is some environmentally important land will be kept in its natural state for years to come, bringing with it the benefits of the outdoors to thousands of hikers and others, and preserving a habitat to many species of beautiful birds, deer, and other wildlife.

Because thousands of trees will be preserved, it will also help to counter the impact of greenhouse gases. Scientists tell us each tree will absorb 48 pounds of Co2/yr. Over 40 years this is one ton. A GOOD HAPPENING indeed.

The second story is about an experience Pat and I had in India many years ago. It is excerpted from my book, “Creating Opportunities A Volunteers Memoir.”  

On the second day of our first visit to Mumbai, Pat and I went to St. Andrews and Columbian church known as the Scottish Church at the suggestion of Peter (The Director of Street Kids International).  While he was in Mumbai several weeks before, Peter had met Ankush, a boy of about 10 who lived on the street with his family.  He looked closer to five or six. Ankush was a part of a program at this church for pavement children. Pavement children have families and live on the streets, whereas street children have no families. The only person Ankush spent time with was his sister. Peter thought he was deaf.  Pat and I noticed the same things Peter did.

Pat and I gave $20 U.S. to Lawrence, the program director, to have the boy’s ears tested.  We heard nothing but one year later when I was back in Mumbai, Ankush was still there.  He had grown.  This time he was talking, albeit haltingly, with friends.  Lawrence had taken him to have his ears tested.  It was confirmed that he had a hearing problem.  Fortunately, a hearing aid could help.  The church was able to find money to pay for one.

Knowing that we had provided $20 to spark that test and knowing the advantage that this hearing aid would give him (having friends, enabling learning and eventually being able to work and have a meaningful life) gave us both a warm feeling.

After a little thought, I realized that, yes, our small interaction made a huge difference.  I also realized that there were many others who played a vital role in the process – including Peter for suggesting we meet Ankush; Lawrence, the program director, for following through; the provision of money by the church for a hearing aid; and, of course, the people who invented the hearing aid.

We were but two people who intervened and we were a part of a continuum.  I had the realization that it takes many individuals doing some small thing to help someone else to remove an obstacle and create an opportunity and that this is what makes life work.  In fact, we are all beneficiaries of being helped by someone – and often we don’t even know it.  Furthermore, much of the good work people do will never be known to the many people who benefit.*

Chris and Ankush

There is no doubt Pat and I, by giving a small amount of money to get Ankush’s ears tested, added considerable value to the process of restoring Ankush’s hearing. However, the power was in the activity and the action of everyone working together. The result is that now that Ankush can hear he will have more opportunities in life. Another Good NEWS and Good Happening story.

These are but two stories. I am sure you can think of some of your own.  Or simply by making a small contribution to a situation with money or your actions, and combining it with contributions from others, you can be a part of a Good News and GOOD Happening Story

Till next time,

Chris Snyder

To purchase a copy of Chris’ book, click on the cover image.

*excerpt from, “Creating Opportunities: A Volunteer’s Memoir.” by Chris Snyder (pg. 131 – 133)

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