Showing posts from October, 2018

Understanding Helpers: from folklore to nonprofits

Before you can defeat a dragon, you need some help. Everyone seems to understand the idea of the helper in a narrative as a figure that the hero encounters on their journey. The helper helps the hero, sometimes through an outright gift but, often, as a reward for some relatively small kindness that the hero rendered to the helper well before the hero knew that this figure might offer such rewards. But how much do we ever really know about the helper? And how might that relate to the helping work of nonprofit organizations? Take the Russian tale of  Vasilisa . At the house of the evil witch Baba Yaga, Vasilisa is kind to the hungry cat, so the cat gives her a ribbon and a comb. When she is making her escape from the witch, she throws the ribbon behind her and it turns into a river, then she throws the comb behind and it turns into a thick forest. Vasilisa had her instructions to throw the ribbon and comb behind her, but she did not have any way of knowing that the