A strong community with a high quality of life means safer, healthier lives for you and those around you. The idea of community may simply come down to supporting and interacting positively with other individuals who share a vested interest. Whether your vested interest is in the well-being of your neighborhood or extends to the well-being of your global community. A strong community benefits the individual, the community as well as the greater society. People of all ages who feel a sense of belonging tend to lead happier and healthier lives, and strong communities create a more stable and supportive society.
There aren't enough words in the dictionary to describe the significance of giving back. Even the most simple acts of benevolence -- the ones we think of as "random acts of kindness" or "no big deal" -- are actually incredibly important. Volunteering in all shapes and forms strengthens our communities, brings people together and provides us with valuable experience and insight. And selfishly, when I give my time and energy to others, I just feel better -- about myself and my community.
"That's how we do it in the black community; we give back to the people who made us who we are. We never forget that."
- Snoop Dog
None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here
because somebody - a parent, a teacher, an
Ivy League crony or a few nuns - bent down and helped us pick up our boots.
- Bro. Thurgood Marshall
"Money has changed today's black athletes. Those who have the ability as African men to bring a change in a community that so desperately needs it are concentrating only on their own careers, some charities and how much money they can make."
- Jim Brown
How you can help your community
Check out the following ideas for ways to help your community in the midst of your everyday activities.
Take a garbage bag while walking through the neighborhood. Pick up any litter along the way. As a by-product, you can get some exercise built into your day.
Shop with locally owned businesses, saving time and money. Many locally owned businesses offer services like free gift-wrapping and delivery. And a percentage of your sales taxes go directly to the local community.
Find positive aspects of your community share with other people. A positive image encourages residents to shop locally, increases the chance new businesses will open in the area, and promotes growth.
Attend a local festival or other events. Many have free admission and activities. Most festivals are actually fundraisers for non-profit organizations that make their money through sponsorships. Since sponsors look at attendance numbers to decide how much to give, your family can add to the number and help increase what businesses give next year.
Write a letter to local elected officials encouraging them for making good decisions for the community. People work harder when they know they are appreciated. And elected officials seldom hear enough encouraging words.
Put a potted plant on your front porch. When your home looks spruced up, it makes the whole neighborhood and the community to look better as well.
Take leftover dinner to an elderly neighbor. If you have a family of four, cook enough dinner for five one night and deliver a plate to the widow next door. Your delivery helps you to get to know your neighbors better. And police promote knowing your neighbors as the best way to fight neighborhood crime.
Look for opportunities to give in your community. Many schools collect items, such as canned foods, old coats, toys, and eyeglasses, for less fortunate families.
Vote. While the Presidential election comes around only once every four years, elections happen every year. Check out the candidates for local and state elections.
Encourage your employer to sponsor local events, join a civic organization, or allow employees to volunteer during work hours. Many businesses have volunteer programs to reward employees for volunteering. Local news media often cover large volunteer events and having employee representation gives businesses extra publicity.
By doing our part to contribute to the community, we add people to our circle of influence and gain opportunities to build relationships with our neighbors. We also demonstrate what it means to be a good citizen to our parents, peers, mentors and community leaders.