I recently met a group of mentors and mentorees at the Toronto Sick Kids Foundation. We had an hour to talk about the twists and turns of mentoring.
I left there inspired. These men and women - already working hard to make a difference - are going the extra mile to both push themselves to develop and to support others in a similar journey.
I don't believe that we can truly do much without finding some form of reward in it (thus does altruism really exist?). I do believe that finding reward doesn't make our contributions less valuable or less giving in spirit.
I am a big fan of Sick Kids Hospital (the ghastly incident when my son was three still gives me nightmares and Sick Kids was wonderful!) and was only too happy to 'give back' in this small way. But I'm not fooling myself; I got more out of the hour with these folks than possibly they did. The chance to exchange ideas, share enthusiasm, answer tough questions with practical approaches left me energized. Given how full the summer has been so far, an extra push of energy was worth more than gold.
We all give in the ways we can - donating time or money or expertise. And often we make back even more than we give.