Dr Keith Suter

Society progresses via acts of senseless kindness

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Approx Reading Time-8Volunteering is a multifaceted social construct, the benefits of which are inadequately promoted. From Dr Keith Suter: a look at the positives of volunteering both socially, and individually.

 


Volunteering is one of the best things anyone can do.

At the individual level, it improves a person’s well-being. It gets a person out of themselves and helps them to focus on matters greater than themselves. In today’s era which makes a virtue out of selfishness, it is good for a person’s mental health to give something back to society.

At a societal level, volunteering adds to “social capital”: the level of trust and neighbourliness. A flourishing economy cannot be built on a social graveyard. There has to be an underlying sense of confidence that one can live safely within society and be able to cooperate with one’s neighbours. This helps explain why the Australian economy is stronger than, say, Somalia’s.

Volunteering can be done at all age levels. I would like to see schools provide more attention to volunteering. This should be more than just giving students an occasional few hours off class to collect money for a charity.

Students should be able to earn academic awards for their volunteering. A key feature of the new work era is that it will be based on entrepreneurial initiative, and networking and social skills. Practical work as a volunteer will help a student develop those skills.


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At the other end of the age spectrum, you are never too old to be young. Volunteering helps give people a purpose in life, an opportunity to make new friends and keep them engaged with society. The shut-ins should never be the shut-outs. The twilight years should not be spent in darkness.

I have been involved in volunteering for over half a century. It has brought me a wide range of friends and expanded my interests. Some of my employment opportunities have also arisen from volunteering and meeting the right people.

One of the most rewarding experiences is to meet a person one has helped in earlier years and see how well they have flourished. A volunteer can get a real sense of achievement.

A society progresses via acts of senseless kindness.

Jewish House Crisis Centre and The Big Smoke are asking the community in Sydney’s CBD to let us know when you see anyone who may appear to be homeless or need assistance.

By letting us know this information, we can understand in real time the true needs of our City. We will also be providing packs this Christmas to Sydney’s homeless which will include an inflatable bed.

By filling in the form below, you are making a gesture to Sydney’s homeless that you see them and you care about them. 

 

Dr Keith Suter

Dr Keith Suter is a social commentator, strategic planner, conference speaker, writer and broadcaster, Keith is also a foreign affairs analyst for Sky TV Australia and Radio 4BC, Brisbane, and can be heard on Australian radio on an average of once a day. Keith writes the history page for The Daily Telegraph, and is the author of 50 Things You Want to Know About World Issues (also known as Keith Suter's Global Notebook), and Keith's Suter's Local Notebook, both published by Bantam. Since 1993 Keith has been a member of The Club of Rome, a global think tank on economic and environmental matters. He is on the speakers' circuit and makes public appearances every week. Keith is also on several committees, including the International Law Association, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Humanitarian Law Committee of the Australian Red Cross (NSW), and the International Commission of Jurists (NSW).He also lectures at the department of politics and international relations, Macquarie University. Keith always spends Christmas Day as a volunteer serving meals to the homeless.

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