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TED Volunteering: Why Volunteer With TEDxMileHigh

Thinking about becoming a TED volunteer? Well, TEDxMileHigh is always looking to welcome fresh faces into our passionate, hard-working crew.

TEDxMileHigh volunteers not only meet incredible people but are able to attend adventures and events at discounted rates. It’s an opportunity to network, gain new skills, and learn something new.

As Aristotle (born 384 BC) once said: “The essence of life is to serve others and do good” – and we couldn’t agree more. 

Why Be a TEDxMileHigh Volunteer? 

Aside from the networking opportunities, event discounts, and personal rewards associated with TED volunteering, there’s also research to prove volunteering can be beneficial for your mental health.

In a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, nearly 70,000 people in the United Kingdom were asked questions about their volunteering habits and mental health, every two years from 1996 until 2014.

The survey discovered that in comparison to people who didn’t volunteer, the participants that had volunteered within the past year were more satisfied with their lives and felt that their overall health was better off.

It was also found that people who volunteered more frequently reported better mental wellness than those who didn’t at all or did so infrequently.

So, while the study admits that the evidence has its limitations and is not necessarily conclusive, there definitely appears to be a link between more positive mental health and volunteering.

But what better way to gauge how good something is than going straight to the source? We decided to do just that, approaching three TEDxMileHigh volunteers and asking them about their experiences.

Here’s what they had to say. 

Ethan, 30: “I’m really passionate about solving the climate crisis”

Passionate about experiencing the richness of other cultures, Ethan is a regular at TEDxMileHigh. In fact, he’s been to all but one event since he became a volunteer upon moving to Denver from Ann Arbor in early 2018. His passion stems from his love for traveling and building relationships—a social trait that also has him soaking up dance and karaoke in his spare time.

For Ethan, the people are what make the TED volunteering experience so worthwhile. As a TEDxMileHigh volunteer, Ethan has made deep connections. “I love the people I get to meet and work with,” he shares. “It’s truly a unique set of individuals who choose to dedicate their time and effort to putting or attending these events.”

The community he joined also helped him settle into his new city.

“It’s a great way to meet people,” he tells us. “It’s a way to give to the community and get to see some of the events yourself for free. It’s a win-win.”

In his volunteering journey, Ethan has progressed in the past four years. “I’ve taken on more leadership with each event,” he tells. “At my very first TEDxMileHigh, in May 2018, I was helping with registration. More recently at the last event, I was doing a lot of set up. This time, I’m very excited to be the Volunteer Lead for the latest event!”

Underpinning everything Ethan does for TEDxMileHigh is his passion for helping combat climate change.

“We have such limited time to make big changes, so [climate change] needs to be a big focus. But in a hopeful way that engages and inspires people.”

If he was to give his own TEDxMileHigh talk one day, Ethan would choose to discuss the climate. “I’m really passionate about solving the climate crisis and have done a lot of work towards helping accelerate the energy transition, including organizing a statewide climate march in Michigan with no prior experience,” he shares. “I’d like to share the idea that anyone can make a difference.”

Krystal, 26: “I want to meet people who are passionate about new ideas”

“At first it might seem a little nerve-wracking,” new TEDxMileHigh Krystal explains, sharing the common feeling experienced by many newbie volunteers. “But everyone is so friendly that you’ll soon feel comfortable,” she adds. 

Starting as a volunteer back in October 2021, Krystal is relatively new to the TEDxMileHigh crew. But her interest in the events was piqued back in high school. “I never realized there was a local division until one of my professors offered extra credit for attending!” During the pandemic, Krystal then reconnected with TED by participating in the TEDxMileHigh virtual events.

“Conversations stop violence, conversations start countries and build bridges” – Theo E.J. Wilson

She settled into the Denver crew quickly. “Everyone is so welcoming and appreciative!” she says of the TED volunteering experience. “It’s so easy to start conversations with other volunteers.”

One of the most interesting TEDxMileHigh talks Krystal has seen was by Theo E.J. Wilson. In his talk, he discusses his experiences of being a Black man going undercover in alt-right white supremacist internet circles. “The importance of courageous conversations has only increased since this talk,” Krystal shares.

Eric, 27: “The culture that surrounds TEDxMileHigh is even more rewarding than the talks themselves!”

Incredibly, TEDxMileHigh volunteer Eric met his fiance through volunteering for TEDxMileHigh. “I’m getting married to the love of my life in June, who happens to be the Event Manager at TEDxMileHigh,” Eric shares. “We met at the Friday night after party of Point of Departure in July of 2017. You could call it a TEDx love story!”

In addition to meeting the love of his life, TED volunteering has been deeply rewarding for Eric. Since joining as an intern in 2016, then becoming part of the staff and now helping as a volunteer, Eric has been able to find a community in TEDxMileHigh.

“The culture that surrounds TEDxMileHigh is even more rewarding than the talks themselves,” he says. “The attendees, volunteers and staff that come back year after year have created a tight-knit family that represents the greater mission of community and idea-sharing.”

As a carpenter by trade—“I turned my childhood passion of building Legos into a career!”—Eric is passionate about sustainable home building. This is the topic he’d present at TEDxMileHigh, if the opportunity arose. “Too much construction nowadays is wasteful and cheap which means new houses will only last about 25 years before major repairs are needed. Old fashioned techniques of home building such as rammed earth, hempcrete, and even mud have proven to be more lasting than modern technology.”

Next Steps

Want to join in on TED volunteering? We’d love to have you on board. We’ll just need you to meet the following criteria, then you can go ahead and apply:

  • We hope you’re hungry to grow! Learning and growing is part of the TEDxMileHigh experience.
  • You’ll need a passion for spreading transformational ideas, of course.
  • You want to join a community of powerful thinkers and changemakers. 
  • You believe you have a skillset that can be helpful at TEDxMileHigh.
  • You’re 18+ years old.

Once you’re sure you meet these criteria, you can start the process of becoming a volunteer right here

Reconnect with your community at our upcoming TEDxMileHigh event: Reconnect. Get tickets here.

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