Our communities thrive on our success when we give back a portion of what we have. Giving back does not always mean throwing money at a situation. I believe that time and effort are the most important gifts that we can give anyone. As we continue to ring in the new year, use some of these tips to help better your community.
1. Mentor Someone
I have had various mentors through activities like Youth Group at my church, Dance team, and Girl Scouts. Each one has helped mold me into a better and more knowledgeable person. Mentor a child at your local elementary, middle or high school. You can even mentor someone who is interested in your career field. Sharing your journey with another can really help them in this journey we call life.
2. Sponsor a Class
I read about a teacher who took her lottery winnings and bought books for her students. That is truly amazing. You do not have to go to that level to be amazing also. However, you can start small. Contact your local school and see where you can help. Sponsor a class by providing books, electronics, coats for the winter or whatever they need that you can provide. If you do not have the funds to buy items, you can put together a collection drive to get more of the community involved with helping each other.
3. Teach a Free Class
Do you have a talent such as dance or writing? The neighborhood needs your talent and expertise. Give back by offering a free or extremely cheap class at your local YMCA or Recreation Center.
4. Start a Recycling Initiative
How many times have your driven around your neighborhood and seen plastic bottles and papers on the ground? Too many times right? It is time to change that. Contact your local recycling company. Many will give out free collection bins. Ask your neighborhood where the will allow you to set up neighborhood collection spots. Once these are set up, let your neighbors and greater community know that this option is available.
5. Plant a Community Garden
We are living in a world where it has become easier to access fast food than it is to get fresh fruit and vegetables. Let’s change that. Start a community garden on your property or ask neighbors and community leaders for spaces where gardening would be possible. Ask for help from local schools and businesses. You can even get a schedule going for different tasks so that no one has to do all of the work.
6. Organize a Bill Pay Fund
It is no secret that many people are behind on bills. Lots of the people do their best by working extra jobs, but it is still not enough. I heard of neighbors in Detroit who came together to help out struggling families by paying their light bills. It started a chain reaction, and now, many families are able to keep their lights on. Take this initiative and run with it. Do good for those around you.
7. Give What Your Community Needs
Each community is different. Therefore, they all need different things and services. Ask local schools and leaders what they really need. Then ask neighbors and business owners what they would like to see change for the better. If your community is affluent, see about neighboring communities.
We all have the power to do something to make life better for others. No favor is too small. No dream is too big. What will you do to help your community become better for everyone?