There’s nothing like the feeling of true belongingness in a community. It’s a great experience to be on the same page with people in your building, on your street, or even in your entire village.
Unfortunately, having wonderful camaraderie with members of your community doesn’t happen by fate or by chance, just like they do in movies. It’s something you have to work very hard to cultivate across many years, and more often than not, it can only start with you showing considerable effort in being more involved with your community.
Here are 7 simple but significant ways you can increase your socio-civic presence:
Show up at council meetings
Homeowners’ meetings are not convened just because. There are things to be discussed and things to decide upon, all of which will ultimately affect the community. Possibly one of the worst things you can do as a community member is to oppose or question a new rule or a newly-imposed obligation even though you could have raised your objections earlier -- when the matter was put to a vote. So the next time notice or invitation arrives at your door calling for a community meeting, maybe don’t throw it straight into the trash?
- Vote local leaders
If you’re juggling a few jobs and night classes to boot, it’s understandable if you can’t attend any of these meetings. But, the next best thing to exercising your democratic right is to rest assured that your rights are represented -- even when you’re not there. You can do this by registering your voice and voting for the local leaders who you know will take the community’s best interests at heart when they do have to decide for everyone else.
Elections are not only crucial at the federal or state level -- it is important at virtually any level, so make sure not to squander the opportunity for representation at the community level.
Volunteering in any way you can to help improve your community is of great importance, it is often considered an actual duty to society. After all, volunteering is simply described as doing your part as a citizen and community member without expecting anything in return.
Your time is not the only thing you can volunteer, either. You can opt to volunteer your expertise on a certain matter if you think the community will derive some benefit from it. If you have a great, creative mind, for instance, you can volunteer to take charge of the publicity materials of your village’s garage fair.
- Spread the word about community solar
Individual efforts to save the planet may be noble, but they wouldn’t have that big of an effect unless you can influence others to exert the same efforts, too. For instance, if you are aware that residents in your area can actually switch to using solar energy without having to install their own solar panels, you can spread the word via a PSA.
This is a pretty good example of being more involved in your community. Not only will you help the planet when more people start using clean energy -- you will also be helping your neighbours qualify for a shared solar subscription, and get a guaranteed discount on their hefty power bills along the way.
- Patronize small, local businesses
Micro businesses, though miniature in scale, are actually the backbone of your local community. By patronizing these local, homegrown businesses, you will be helping someone who is in the same boat as you. The benefit they will gain from a successful business venture will surely accrue to the betterment of the community-at-large, too.
- Impart good values to neighbouring kids
As always, it takes a village to raise a child. If you are living in a community with kids in it, always keep in mind that you are now directly influencing the formation of individuals who in the future will make decisions and act in accordance with values they learned during the formative years of their lives. Do your part in protecting them, educating them, and setting good examples for their impressionable minds to absorb, so you can help raise a kid who will also be keen on helping the community continually improve.
- Support good initiatives
It’s highly likely that you are not the only one seeking ways on how to be more involved with the community. So when you notice others forwarding initiatives that stand to benefit the community you belong in, the least you can do is show your support to them, too. If a certain household is trying to influence everyone to hold white elephant sales instead of simply disposing of everything they no longer have a need for, try it out for yourself; and when other families in your area start holding these sales at the suggestion of another, you could, perhaps, invite a few friends over to see if there’s anything they’d like to buy.
In reality, there are countless ways you can get more involved with community matters. The examples mentioned earlier barely scratch the surface of the many things you can do to support the community you belong in. If you do these things, you also stand to gain connections with like-minded people in your community, thus creating an unbreakable bond and sense of belongingness.