Who is responsible for improving the world? Philanthropy is private initiatives taken for public good, with a focus on quality of life. This is an interesting dynamic and begs the question of responsibility. Private initiatives taken for private good is capitalism, and public initiatives for public goods is government. Philanthropy is a personal commitment to improving the human condition. But with such vast suffering and such need for resources, time, commitment and creativity, where does the responsibility fall? Is it left to the motivated, the creative, the rich, the poor, the educated, the religious, the resourceful, the powerful, the divine? The responsibility to improve the world falls to everyone on the world.
The first thing to take into account is the backbone of most religions, many forms of government, democratic social structures and kinder garden classrooms- The Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated. But it is more than just saying please and thank you, and not cutting people off on the highway :-) When stretched to encompass all of the world’s problems, the golden rule becomes more complicated. Humanities constant challenge is to understand and improve itself. And the effort needed to raise the quality of life on earth is huge. What is the method for this type of challenge? How do we apply the golden rule across the world? Morality is the sense of good and bad, right and wrong. It is a subjective sense, catering to individual preference, belief, culture and psychology. Studying morality is essential to understanding and improving the human condition. What is GOOD and BAD? What is RIGHT and WRONG? What is the GREATEST GOOD? Answers about morality and meaning come from human reason and knowledge of the natural world. It is an ever evolving process. Each generation must search for new methods for understanding and improving humanity. There is a unique responsibility behind the consequences of human decisions. And what can we learn from looking to nature? The natural world, composed of perfectly balanced ecosystems, transcends morality. Aristotle said "Nothing in nature happens in vain," and by looking to nature we can better use our sense of morality.
The morality of action should be judged by their consequences in the world. It is everyone’s duty to see their own actions as having consequence in the world, and take on a great deal of personal responsibility. You are responsible for- thinking for yourself, following your own curiosity, joining the search for new methods of understanding and improving humanity, questioning authority, using your own reasoning, being creative, holding high standards, loving human potential, and realizing that what you do impacts the state of the world and the future of humanity!
Last Saturday, Team Leader Kate and I helped lead a group volunteering with Farmer Joe at J-14 Enterprises, an organic farm just outside of Kansas City, KS. YVCKC has enjoyed working service projects with J-14 for years, and last weekend proved just as awesome. Despite the cold and rainy weather, about ten youth volunteers showed up for the project, and to kick things off we all sat and listened as Joe Jennings, the owner of J-14, advised us on the value of hard work, earnest care for the land, and personal responsibility.
After Joe's introduction, we spent a lot of time doing various jobs around the farm, including clearing weeds from around a grove of peach trees:
and picking jalapeno peppers:
At one point, Saomana and Tre'von decided to take a break from picking the peppers and try one. This was probably a bad idea.
We also helped clean out an old rabbit hutch, and a couple of the volunteers even got to pick some mustard greens that Joe donated to some families in need later that day.
It started to mist a little around 11:30, so we all met under a makeshift pavilion and discussed the difference between genetically modified foods and organic foods, and how Joe's farm helps the local community.
As we got ready to leave, Farmer Joe sent us home with signed certificates officially labeling us as "farm laborers." He expressed his sincere thanks over and over again, and invited us to come back again. Let's hope for another J-14 project soon!
This weekend we sent youth all over Kansas City. Here is a clip from Fox on the great volunteers we have serving our community:
This weekend makes an anniversary in our nation's past that needs to be remembered. I wanted to share the news story from last year and spread the word that there are still projects open for this weekend. September 11 was a time where a nation came together with support and comfort. Sign up and come be part of the community!
Check out this video of our news story and project from last year.
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Feel free to email a post and picture to the team leaders at