The most magical moments of the Nexus Global Youth Summit held at the United Nations headquarters 22-25 July sprang from experiencing how individuals found the greatest rewards in life by giving time, talent and treasure. Another special moment was seeing firsthand how, without seeking or expecting them, social impact agents receive invaluable returns in the form of personal growth and enhancement of personal happiness.
The summit provided a track tailored for this discovery, where philanthropist and social innovators could grow and learn, side- by-side, jointly developing life skills that could prove fundamental to social-impact efforts. Beyond talking about successes, organizations and campaigns, the ‘Invest in yourself’ track offered a nourishing and safe space for vulnerability, allowing us to focus on what every single one of us share, the human dignity and equality that drive the desire to help others.
What I have learned in my personal journey of social impact is that even though I am not perfect, and do not have the capacity to single-handedly develop and implement solutions for the issues I most care about, I have positively focused my energy in what I can do. I can speak in support and not on behalf of women when fighting for gender equality. I can accept that I am not an expert at anything, rather than at being myself, a young man. By recognizing my limitations, I have found the biggest blessing in surrounding myself with fellow human beings with greater experience and knowledge, who share my dreams of working in the present for a better future.
By realizing that not everyone can do everything but everyone can do something, I’ve been able to play a small part in implementing non-profit projects that can specifically support the betterment of people.
The energy built in the jam-packed ‘Invest in yourself’ session transferred to the general Nexus summit almost immediately. When people understand that happiness is not only an outcome of giving but rather is a vital part of the entire process, they will be more likely to increase the intensity and time of their social impact efforts.
The Nexus summit provided a perfect setting to learn the value of growth through collaboration. We all have the same goal: to make this world a better place.
To change the world, one must start with oneself. Philanthropy teaches you that by helping others you are helping yourself, and that by helping yourself you are helping others. That’s the core of the ‘Invest in yourself’ track, a project that has generated an ever increasing social return, positively affecting so many of us who embrace the life-mission of social impact. We can have many projects but we only have one mind, body and soul.
Giving is intrinsically tied to one’s humanity. As people develop and nourish themselves, the growth and sustainability of their giving enters a virtuous cycle that strengthens the core of generosity, solidarity and kindness that are human values.
The Nexus summit recognised the vitality of this connection and sought to provide invaluable support and tools that helped us to help more people, more effectively by practicing happiness, effective communication and balance in our day to day living. Invest in yourself to harmonize and increase your investment in causes, communities and the world.
Gerardo Porteny is founder and president of Young Men For Gender Equality.