Service to others has its pwn arithmetic. Combine two or more good-hearted people in the pursuit of a common caus, and suddenly one-plus-one is more than two. It’s called synergy. We can all do a little something, but together we can do something truly amazing.

If we all use the arithmetic of service, there isn’t a problem in this world that can’t be solved. The hard part is convincing each person that they play a significant part in the equation—that each of us has something to give which cannot otherwise be given—that we all contribute a very critical factor in the multiplier effect.

5 Hours a week: Using the arithmetic of service one person could change the social landscape of our country in a few hours a week. How? If every American donated just five hours a week to a good cause, it would equal the labor of 20 million full-time volunteers.

4 Hours a Month: If every employee in every American company were given just four hours a month to volunteer for a cause of their choice, American companies could transform thousands of neighborhoods and millions of lives.

A Few Minutes a Day: In her book, The Difference a Day Make, Karen Jones lists hundreds of small, empowering acts of humanity that anyone can work into their day. Shop at the farmer’s market. Take a neighbors dog for a walk. Take your old magazines to the senior center on the way to work. If we all did just one small action each day, we’d create an army of everyday altruists.

Bridging the gap

In 1855, the great Niagara Suspension Bridge was built by flying a child’s kite across the 855-foot chasm. Attached to the kite was a string, attached to the string was a cord, attached to the cord was a rope, and attached to the rope was a cable—sure and strong.

Our world needs more kite flyers and bridge builders. If you have a big idea or project in mind, step one is to take step one. Just fly your kite to the other side and go from there. Big positive changes are seldom accomplished all at once; It’s usually a matter of one step leading to another. What are you waiting for?

If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time. – Marian Wright Edelman


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