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UNITED STATES: Volunteerism changes Salesian lay missionary’s life

Salesian lay missionary highlights importance of volunteerism

Salesian lay missionary highlights importance of volunteerism in TEDxOneonta Talk


(MissionNewswire) Juan Carlos Montenegro, originally from Ecuador and now living in Los Angeles, Calif., credits a volunteer experience with the Salesians in 1994 for changing his life. He spoke about the experience and the importance of volunteerism at his recent TEDxOneonta Talk, an independently organized TED event. The talk was entitled “Unleashing Human Potential Through Volunteerism.”

As a young man, Montenegro struggled in school due to his dyslexia. He failed tests and was not able to advance his education. At age 18 he took an opportunity to volunteer in a Salesian community in Wasak’entsa, Ecuador, in the Amazon jungle. When he asked what to do, a Salesian priest told Montenegro that he was going to be a teacher.

Montenegro was astounded given his poor performance in school. As he noted in the talk, he wasn’t even good at studying. He was given the keys to the library and he says that is when his life began to change. When he returned home, he was ready to continue his studies. He entered university where he earned numerous advanced degrees.

Today, Montenegro is a commercial engineer with a master’s degree in business administration, a master’s degree in youth ministry and a certificate in coordination of youth ministry. He also holds a Ph. D. in individuals, family and society, which is a multidisciplinary vision from the University of Comillas, Spain. He is dedicated to offering support to people and organizations in their processes of self-knowledge and in the discovery of their abilities to achieve their freedom and success.

Through his talk, Montenegro sheds light on the potential within individuals that can be unleashed through acts of service and compassion. He challenges the audience to envision a world where everyone volunteers to make the world a more compassionate and better place to live.

A Salesian missionary echoed Montenegro’s words, “The power of volunteerism goes beyond the immediate impact on those being served — it also has the potential to transform the volunteers’ lives. By engaging in volunteer work, individuals have the opportunity to cultivate empathy, develop leadership skills and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. By volunteering, individuals can build strong communities, develop social skills, improve self-esteem and increase happiness. Moreover, giving back fosters a sense of purpose and fulfillment that can be profoundly enriching on a personal level.”

Montenegro’s TEDxOneonta Talk is currently available on YouTube.



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ANS – United States – Unleashing Human Potential Through Volunteerism: a TEDx Talk That Inspires Change

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