Insight and Wisdom to take away from Inspirational TED Talk speakers

Happy New Year, everyone! With the new term already underway, and volunteers resuming or starting their activity for the first time, the members of the Warwick Volunteers exec have thought to share with you a few short TED Talks, to hopefully guide you during your volunteering with Warwick Volunteers and inspire you to continue contributing to the community around you beyond your years at university!

The first video was shared by Chia, a third-year Accounting and Finance student, Media and Comms officer at Warwick Volunteers. The talk is part of the TEDX Series, given by Rachael Chong in 2013, Founder and CEO of Catchafire, a platform connecting non-profit organisations with professionals looking to volunteer. Her talk is entitled The Key to True Generosity.

Here is Chia’s reflection about the video:

“Key takeaway that I have gained from the video:

  1. Reflect on your luck- not the kind that you bumped into someone and had a great change in life, but the type of luck that is fundamental, such as the parent you were born to, the place you grew up etc. This type of luck is so basic that we hardly think about it. This would then made us realise that others (eg the homeless) haven’t had the advantage that we have had.
  2. Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.

This video reminds me of my volunteering experience with Kenilworth Phab. Kenilworth Phab is a group where disabled and non-disabled people from the Kenilworth, Coventry, Leamington and Warwick areas meet weekly to enjoy social activities together. During the session, I was playing braille domino with some of the members. One of the members was blind and she was able to play domino as we were using braille domino. But she needed support knowing when to make a go or what numbers the others had put down, as it would take a while for her to feel the braille domino. It hit me that I am lucky to have the gift of sight, although it was not perfect. This grew into gratitude, where I bicker less about what I don’t have and appreciate more of what I have – which made me happier in life.”


The second video was shared by Cassandra, also a Media and Comms officer, currently a third-year Economics student.

The video she shares recounts, in a very light-hearted, quite comical manner, a disappointing, yet illuminating episode in the volunteering experience of Mark Bezos. Mark Bezos is a member of a poverty-fighting charity in New York City, and the assistant captain of a volunteer fire company in suburban New York. Here is Cassandra’s reflection:

“I think that the video has the power to resonate intensely with many people, as most of us aspire in our inner selves to bring meaningful contributions to society and to the local community around us through our activities and future careers. But caught in this aspiration, one may easily forget that making a significant contribution may lie outside our control. No matter how much one would be willing to save a life, it is not every day that one has the chance to do so. Maybe it will never happen. 

I soon made a parallel to my own volunteering experience from my first year, when I was a French tutor in a local school, helping two teachers deliver classes and supporting students with their learning. I remember I used to be slightly disappointed that my enthusiasm and desire to increase the knowledge of students were sometimes not shared equally by the students. Despite my hard attempts and effort, a few kids just seemed not interested and quite unwilling to cooperate. I may not have been able to get those students to obtain an A* in French, but I believe I did manage to bring a small, yet positive contribution, especially in the greater scheme of things, over the long-term. The simple fact that I managed to slightly discipline the most rebellious students, to increase their awareness of the importance of learning a foreign language, and to raise their enthusiasm towards the French language and class was really gratifying. I am sure that even the most difficult students learnt at least one word in French from me, and I was content. The key idea is that the opportunities you get to move mountains are scarce. But don`t be driven by the motivation to move mountains. Be driven by the motivation to move a pebble! If everybody moves a pebble, then eventually, on the aggregate, a mountain will be moved. So do not sit there doing nothing because you believe your contribution is not great enough! Go out there and make opportunities for yourself, no matter how small and trivial they seem to you. You may even discover that sometimes, big opportunities to make a real difference arise from small ones”.


Below is a list of other TED talk videos you may enjoy:


There are plenty of volunteering opportunities offered by Warwick Volunteers. If you haven`t signed up already, it`s not late. There are still plenty of projects you can join, or one-off activities you can participate in!

Sign up here:

Find volunteering projects here:


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