No matter where you live, there are likely things you love about your community and other things you wish were a little different. While one person may not be able to change the entire community alone, your efforts combine with the efforts of others around you can make a difference. If you are looking for ways to make your community a better place, consider doing at least one of the following four things.
There are many opportunities to volunteer in your community. The key to discovering the best volunteer opportunities is to look at your talents and interests. For example, if you enjoy sports, you may want to consider volunteering through the Special Olympics. You can be a coach or official. If you have medical training, you can volunteer to provide health examinations for the athletes. If you want to join in the fun and play the sports alongside the other athletes, you can even volunteer as a member of a unified team, where athletes with and without intellectual disabilities are paired on the same team. Some examples of sports with unified teams are soccer, volleyball, and basketball. With Special Olympics, you can volunteer to help at a specific event or you can volunteer long-term. This allows you to contribute time based upon your own circumstances.
If you enjoy working with children and teens in need, you may want to consider looking into your local Big Brothers Big Sister of America program. This will allow you to mentor a who boy or girl who may not otherwise have a positive role model in his or her life. While it does not require a large financial commitment, it will require a significant time commitment. You are encouraged to have regular contact with your Little brother or sister. For some people, this contact continues for years. You never know what sort of positive impact you might have on the other person’s life.
If you like animals, you may want to volunteer at your local animal shelter. If you enjoy helping other people, volunteering at your local food bank, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or domestic violence shelter might be more your style. If you enjoy books and learning, you can also help children and adults through your local literacy program or volunteer at your local library. You may also want to participate in a volunteer after school study program for children in your community. Contacting these programs will help you know the opportunities to volunteer for these groups in your area. While some services may allow you to offer your services on a one-time basis, others may require more of a commitment. Of course, if these programs are not available in your area, you might also be able to organize them.
There are likely many other opportunities to volunteer in your community. You can look for small things you can do, such as doing yard work for free for your neighbor who is unable to do the work himself. For teenagers, volunteering to baby-sit for free for a couple who are struggling financially could be a much-needed service. Even just picking up trash around your neighborhood could greatly benefit your community. If none of these volunteer opportunities appeal to you, think up your own ways to volunteer and help your community, or visit Volunteer Match to be connected with volunteer opportunities in your local area.
While donating your time is often a much appreciated service to your community, sometimes you can also help out your community by donating more tangible items. If you have the money, you may want to consider giving money to some of these causes for which you volunteer as well as other charities in your community, such as The Salvation Army.
If you have the resources you can donate food to a food bank, soup kitchen, or other service that feeds those in need. Even just a can or two of food can help. Of course, it is generally a good idea to contact the organization to ask them what sort of foods they do and do not accept as well as what sort of food they are currently lacking. Some groups only accept non-perishable food. Others will accept the food as long as it is in good condition.
If you no longer need clothing or other items, you may want to consider donating them. If you know a family or person in need, you can give the item or items to them. Otherwise, there are likely places in your area that will take gently used items. Homeless shelters and domestic violence shelters are great places to donate clothing and other items. Thrift stores, such as Goodwill Industries, will also appreciate your donation. As an added bonus, these sorts of stores often employ those who otherwise may not be able to find work.
Because some people are unable to donate blood, if you are able, you may also want to consider doing it. This can benefit people in your community who need blood for a variety of reasons. While people often flock to donate blood after a disaster, it is important to know that the blood used when disaster strikes is the blood previously donated. By visiting the American Red Cross website, you can find opportunities in your local area for giving blood.
Get Involved Politically in Your Community
If practical, you may want to consider running for public office. This will allow you to make changes in your community. Even just being on the school board or being a city council member allows you to have a say in some of the things that happen in your community. Even if you do hold a public office, you may be able to attend city council meetings or school board meetings. You can share your opinions and help to make sure your feelings are at least expressed.
You can also get involved in a community cause by actively campaigning for a candidate who supports your vision of how things should happen in the community. The more people who know what that candidate represents, the better chance someone you support has of making it into office. Of course, it is always important to vote in elections. If you did not express your preference, you cannot really complain if you do not agree with the decisions made in your community.
Support Businesses that Support Your Community
There are likely two types of businesses in your community that will be especially beneficial to your community. The first is local businesses. Because these businesses are local, their profits will go back into the community rather than being sent to a headquarters, which could be on the other side of the country. Plus, by buying from these businesses, you are helping someone in your community’s entrepreneur dream come true.
The second type of business that is especially beneficial to your community is the business that donates to the local community. This could be through donating a portion of their proceeds to local non-profit groups. For example, at Urban Mattress, we donate 2 percent of every mattress purchase to a local non-profit.
If you are looking for a quality mattress to sleep on after spending a hard day working to make your community a better place, contact your local Urban Mattress store. Not only do we donate a portion of our proceeds to charities, our mattresses are of the highest quality.