How to Get More Involved in Your Community
There is no better way to gain a sense of fulfillment about your role in your community than finding ways to be involved and active in community improvement. Of course, there are hundreds of reasons to get more involved and hundreds of ways for you to do so, so how are you to know where to start? When considering increasing your community involvement, start out with a consideration of what you hope to give and what you hope to get through your involvement.
Considering Your Role in the Community
Oftentimes, when we feel dissatisfied with how things are done in our communities, it can be tempting to pull back entirely from getting involved. During these times, we tend to feel like our voices don’t matter. The problem is that the road to community improvement is slow and it depends on the careful and patient work of tons of volunteers who work tirelessly for improvement, even when they have those moments where they feel powerless.
So before you decide how you will get involved, consider what you would most like to see as a result from your service. Here are a few of the benefits to consider:
- You can achieve small, everyday improvements. You may not notice when the park is looking especially clean, but you will notice when it is looking especially littered. Living in a community that seems loved and cared-for has a huge impact on our general sense of wellbeing and happiness.
- You can set a good example for others. These kinds of small, grassroot efforts depend on the contribution of lots and lots of people. By getting involved early, you can encourage others to get involved. There are lots of people out there who would like to get involved but just don’t know how. By seeking out involvement opportunities, you can set a good example and you can also help others find the resources and information they need to get involved.
- You can instill good values in your family. Kids are hugely impacted by the values of their parents, so demonstrate to your kids the importance of civic activity by getting involved in community efforts. Include them in any efforts where it will be safe for kids to participate.
- Learn about your community. By getting involved in any kind of social or community service, you are likely to learn about the bigger problems as well as the bigger social efforts being undertaken in your community. This will make you a more informed voter, it will help you decide when and how to donate your time and money, and it will allow you to inform others about the things you learn.
- Start something big. If you’ve noticed something going on in your area that you think is a problem, chances are other people have noticed it, too. Even if they haven’t, once it’s been brought to their attention, they will be likely to have an opinion on it. You can start something big by bringing attention to these kinds of issues.
Ways to Get Involved
Once you have a sense of what you hope to achieve through your service, you can start to consider how you would actually like to get involved. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Research local organizations and efforts in your community. One community will have different needs from the next, so try to consider what the particular needs are of your community to determine where you will do the most good. Does your community have a large homeless population? Bring in donations to your local shelter and volunteer your time. Is your town built around a river? Join a volunteer clean-up crew.
- Help campaign for a politician who will advocate for your issues. Go door to door to get signatures for propositions or make and put up political signs around town. Offer to support the campaign in ways that are relevant to your talents. Are you a good writer? Offer to write newsletters and other materials for a local politician, for example.
- Organize your own efforts. If you’ve noticed a problem in your area, don’t be afraid to organize your own response group to deal with it. Just make sure you get the proper permission from your city. In the past, groups have been arrested or fined for feeding the homeless in areas where loitering was prohibited. Don’t let your good deed get overshadowed by legal trouble.
Take Some Risks!
If your community is in real need of attention for a certain issue, then “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone to find ways to make a real and lasting impact on your community.