No matter where you live, you are instantly a part of the community, for better or for worse.
Communities differ in size, population and involvement. In my opinion, a community is only as good as its people. And good people really do make a difference in the satisfaction of your area.
If you want to make your community a better place, get involved with these simple steps.
- Be a good neighbor. Being a good member of the community all starts at home. Being a good neighbor can be as simple as smiling and waving when you see your neighbor. But can be elevated by picking up your neighbor’s newspaper while he is out of town, or preparing dinner for a family with a new baby. Essentially, being a good neighbor is through simple acts of kindness. A good hope is that those you are kind to will pay it forward, enriching your neighborhood and beyond.
- Volunteer. Communities need a lot to be nice, and hardly have enough money to pay someone to do it. The best way to strengthen your community is to volunteer. Volunteer opportunities can be one time services like weeding a public park or helping out at a 5k. It can transform into long-term involvement like delivering Meals-on-Wheels to homebound seniors or building homes for Habitat for Humanity. You can also get involved by joining the PTA (Parent Teacher Association), city council or nonprofit boards. Volunteering might seem overwhelming and time consuming, but you can make a difference in a few short hours a week.
- Teach your kids to get involved. The best way to ensure that your life of citizenship is to teach your children. Thankfully, there are many ways to get your children involved in the community without being too much of a drag. Take your children to volunteer activities. Even the youngest helpers can pull weeds or brighten up the day of a sick neighbor or senior.
- Attend events. I always envied my cousin’s small town community feel. Their tiny town held a huge parade every year and the citizens came out in droves to support. The Fourth of July carnival was enjoyed by many and their community was strengthened for it. Cities put on community events in an effort to strengthen the overall well being of the city. Join in to receive full benefits.
- Be a good citizen/ person. As I mentioned above, a community is only as good as its people. And it truly starts at home. Good citizenship is as simple as picking up garbage that you dropped or cleaning up after yourself at a park. It seems obvious, but some people just don’t get it.
- Don’t be scared. It is intimidating to get involved, especially if you are new and don’t know anyone. Start with baby steps. Check out the library for free community events and volunteer opportunities in your area. Find your local church to get to know other community members and volunteer your time for the cause.