Nearly 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon with one of our country’s great servant-leaders, Michelle Nunn.  Michelle and I have stayed in touch regularly since, and I’ve always valued spending some time with her and experiencing her style of relating and leadership.  Michelle founded HandsOn Atlanta which led to the HandsOn global volunteer network, which then merged with the Points of Light Institute and is now the nation’s largest volunteer network.  Michelle serves as CEO of Points of Light.

Recently, Michelle delivered a lecture at the Chatauqua Institution in New York, where she presented evidence that our bodies and brains are literally wired to care and to give.  Michelle suggests that despite the negativity of our daily news cycles, we are “animated by an empathetic impulse” to respond to those in need around us.  Research shows that volunteers live longer, recover from illness more quickly, and suffer lower rates of depression.  College students who volunteer graduate at a 22% higher rate than non-volunteers.  Young people who volunteer regularly report a 50% less likely chance to use drugs and engage in reckless behavior.

Check out Michelle’s lecture on YouTube at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnjgXZPlMxo

It is a long (by design, Michelle says) lecture, but well worth your time.  You will be inspired.

Speaking of length, if you want to extend your life, get in touch with our Volunteer Services Manager, Jill Wiles Wolf (jill.wolf@habitatwake.org) right away!