Conor Grennan told the students of Elon University that their motivation for helping others is irrelevant, because volunteering and helping others will always have a positive impact.
Grennan spoke at Elon University on Sept. 17, telling the audience that he began his volunteer work in Nepal for unconventional reasons.
Grennan said he originally decided to go to Nepal to impress his friends, and he only decided to volunteer at an orphanage to impress a girl he met at a bar. His motivation was not typical of that of a volunteer, but he still went to Nepal and ended up changing children’s lives.
When he arrived at the orphanage in Nepal, Conor Grennan said he didn’t know what to do with the “crack-pot, goofball kids.” Although he didn’t initially like children, they quickly amazed him. He thought new, fancy toys he gave the children would blow them away. “It turned out that the toys we brought over weren’t actually better than their toys…it was an interesting moment for me.”
Conor Grennan said he went to Nepal during a horrible time of revolution, but it still worked out. It got to the point where it was too dangerous for tourists to stay in Nepal, so Grennan returned to New York.
Grennan realized when he was home that he had to return to Nepal, even though it was not an ideal time. He learned of seven missing orphans, and decided he had to go find them and bring them back to their families.
When he was searching for the missing children in Nepal, Grennan lost hope. He realized how difficult it would be to find them, but then Amita, the only girl of the seven children, appeared. Grennan said, “I just kinda took her,” and he brought her home to a safe place.
Grennan struggled, trekking through mountains with an injured leg, but found the rest of the seven children and reunited them with their families. He said it was all worth it, “we realized the incredible impact it had to bring a child back to their family.”
Conor Grennan said that it doesn’t matter what motivates people to help others, because, he said, “Once you actually do start helping people…your motivation changes.” In the end, you are still helping other people, and, “it will change your life,” he said.