Four ways to be more community-minded
In today’s device-driven world, it seems that we’re constantly connected to our online community. But how about our “real life” community? As our reality becomes more digital and disconnected, prioritizing your community – whether it’s around your home, work or school – is more important than ever.
Becoming more involved doesn’t just provide benefits to the community, either. When you commit yourself to giving back, you have the opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills. Serving others offers lasting feelings of fulfilment – and it can be a great way to get to know your neighbors!
Here are four ways to become more involved in your community – why not start this weekend?
1. Volunteer Time
Instead of just donating money to a cause you care about, consider how much extra value your personal time or expertise can provide. Maybe you want to help take care of dogs at a local shelter, or read books to kids at the library or to senior citizens at a nursing home. Or, put your own expertise to use by becoming a mentor. Offering advice and guidance to the next generation will not only encourage positive decisions for their future, but will also provide a deeper connection to the community that they can be inspired to pass on.
If you aren’t sure where to start, you can use a website like volunteer.gov to find out about opportunities in your area. You can also look to local schools or places of worship to see if they need help with their own community outreach efforts.
2. Donate Items
Just because you no longer need an item doesn’t mean it has lost its value. Your clothes and old furniture items can find a new life in local thrift shops, or charities like the Salvation Army. Homeless shelters can also make use of old clothes or linens that you no longer need.
Donating food to a local food bank can help families in need of more than just money. Remember to provide items that are nutritious and will contribute to a well-rounded meal, not just food your own family won’t eat.
3. Support Local
Stay close to home the next time you want to head out for entertainment. Keep an eye out for events in the community, like art fairs, music festivals and farmers markets.
You can make sure your shopping contributes to the community as well by skipping the big box retailers and buying from small businesses.
If you see a need in your neighborhood that isn’t being addressed, consider creating your own event to raise funds or awareness.
4. Meet the Neighbors
Sometimes, the easiest place to start becoming involved is on your own street. Make eye contact and start up conversations when you are out.
Once you work up a rapport, suggest starting a neighborhood watch, or organize a block party or garage sale. The act of working together on a small project can lead to relationships with your neighbors that will last a lifetime.
Community is more important than ever – and while our social media circles are a great way to stay connected, in-person, human interactions close to home are often closest to our hearts.
Are you already involved in your community? Share your thoughts below. We’d love to hear your story!