The perks of getting involved in community initiatives are two-fold: It benefits the area we reside in but also contributes to our personal growth and wellbeing. But just because you know you want to be more active locally doesn’t mean you know how. This article explores five meaningful ways to engage with your local community.
Volunteering your time is a powerful way to give back to society and make a positive difference in the lives of others. And with its low barrier of entry – volunteering generally doesn’t cost us financially – it’s a way anyone and everyone can get involved. From assisting at local shelters and food banks to taking calls during fundraising efforts, volunteering is a highly productive way to nurture a sense of belonging while making a real difference. Plus it can expose us to diverse perspectives and experiences, and this can ultimately promote a more inclusive and compassionate community.
In 2020, around 77 million Americans volunteered their time and skills, contributing 6.9 billion (yes, billion!) hours of service to their communities (Corporation for National and Community Service). These efforts have paid off all around: a study by UnitedHealthcare found that 93% of volunteers reported improved moods and reduced feelings of stress and isolation.
Support Local Businesses
Supporting local businesses is a vital aspect of community involvement because you’re taking a very active and necessary part in keeping the local economy alive and well. A study by the Maine Center for Economic Policy found that for every $100 spent at a local business, about $58 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. Compare this to only $33 that stays within the community when spent at a non-local business.
Mom-and-pop shops are the heart of the community, and it’s clear it takes intentional action on the part of residents to support these mainstays. We all have to shop, right? By intentionally choosing to buy local, we contribute directly to the success and prosperity of our community.
Participate in Community Events
Local events are prime opportunities for socializing that can strengthen the bond between residents. Making the most of local events fosters a sense of pride in where you lay down your roots. After all, your community is made up of people, not just places, and it’s through getting to know others that you truly understand how unique and wonderful of a place it is.
Be it local festivals, sporting events, or neighborhood gatherings, participating in activities enhances community togetherness and is the easiest opportunity to create lasting friendships. And let’s be honest… making new friends gets harder and harder the older we get. These events provide the platform to get to know each other, but also to discuss community challenges and aspirations that may pave the way for an even better hometown.
Engage in Civic Activities
Civic involvement can come in many forms: attending town hall meetings, joining community boards, and participating in advocacy campaigns for examples. If you have a particular passion in one of these areas or just wish you were a little more informed about the changemaking in your community, civic events are a great avenue. Start feeling empowered today – get proactive about making positive change at the local level.
Contribute to Your Greet Magazine
A shameless plug? Maybe. But helping out your local Greet magazine truly is an easy and effective way to become more involved in your community. (Your community doesn’t have a Greet magazine… yet? Consider bringing one to your area.) Whether you have a personal story, recipe, or piece of advice worth sharing, know of local groups or happenings to write about, or are a photographer at heart, reach out to your local Greet publisher and start getting involved today. Every issue of Greet is made for, about, and by the residents in your community, making it the ideal platform for building connections.
What are you waiting for? There’s no better time than the present to get to know others in your local community. Whether by volunteering, supporting local businesses, participating in community events, engaging in civic activities, or contributing to your Greet magazine, you’ll be sure to make new friends and a lasting positive impact on the place you call home.