WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2013/2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/210435

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Page 79 of 211

finding meaning through volunteerism "meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness"– that's the title and conclusion of an article from the August 2013 issue of The Atlantic magazine that explores the happiness craze taking the country by storm. The story questions conventional hedonist wisdom — that happiness lies in feeling good. Instead, it credits Aristotle and the virtue ethicists who L I Z S U N E B Y writer posit that feeling good is not enough — that people need meaning to thrive. And, it draws M AU R A WAY M A N photographer upon new scientific data published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) to back up Aristotle's theory. The PNAS study shows that "people who are happy but have little-to-no sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as those who endure chronic adversity." If the scientific data and the theories presented in The Atlantic article prove to be valid, then Femina Ali, Pat Gowdy, Angus McQuilken, and Victoria A. Budson are all certainly thriving. These local volunteers dedicate their valuable time, boundless energy, and creative talents to make our communities and the world a better place. Not one of these giving people is motivated by what they receive from their substantive volunteer activities, but instead by the meaning they bring to the lives of others. the value of volunteerism We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 3 / 2 0 1 4 Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Femina Ali understands that helping others seems to be part of her genetic make-up. Given her family legacy, perhaps it is. Femina credits her mother for instilling in her the value of volunteerism. Even though Femina's father died at an early age, her mother welcomed people in need into her very large home. Once Femina and her siblings had grown up and moved out, her mother facing page: (clockwise) Femina Ali, Pat Gowdy, Angus McQuilken, and Victoria A. Budson 78 made the ultimate gift to her community — donating the family's mansion and having it converted into a nursing home.

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