8 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Community

Having a feeling of belongingness in your community is such an understated privilege, but it makes life better for everyone. Being in good graces with your neighbors and working with them on projects that benefit the entire community is good for you. After all, there is hardly any downside to keeping yourself busy while attaining that priceless sense of solidarity and connection with people.

So, if you should decide to be more involved as a member of your community, you could start making a difference by doing the following:

1. Help elect local leaders

Never underestimate the power of representation, may it be at the city hall level, town hall level, or even just the level of your community’s executive committee. The next best thing to actually taking the reins and running for office is to do your part in electing local leaders who can represent your interests well and can make use of their position and resources to impact real change by way of policy.

2. Attend meetings

Whenever local leaders or volunteer community members call for meetings, make sure you attend. This is where you can voice your concerns or opinions regarding issues in your community. This is also where you can suggest solutions to common problems in your neighborhood, such as how to deal with road hazards and how to keep your children safe in the community.

3. Participate in local events

If you’ve ever tried to organize any kind of event in the past, you know that it’s way too much work just for people to simply ignore the invitation. So, one way to make a difference in your community is to actually show up to these things. If a neighbor of yours organizes a charity event or even just a get-together for the community, make their day and be there.

It also wouldn’t hurt to encourage other people (even just members of your own family) to go with you. It would bring members of the community together in a setting that’s neither too formal nor too casual, so be present for it.

4. Support local businesses

There are countless benefits to supporting homegrown businesses. At the very least, supporting your neighbors will definitely redound to the improvement of your local community and its future. Furthermore, sourcing your needs and wants locally will reduce your dependence on larger companies, which produce more carbon footprint than your neighbor’s garage, kitchen, or workshed.

Finally, helping businesses stay open in your area will generate job opportunities for most everyone around.

5. Support/start a recycling initiative

Most cities would already have a green initiative, so the least you can do is to actually participate in it. If not, the best thing you can do is to start a recycling program. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either. All you have to do is to contact a non-profit that can arrange for the pickup of recyclable materials in your area at least once a week, and then set up drop-off bins or boxes where you and your neighbors can dump recyclables that will otherwise just end up in a landfill somewhere.

Not only will this bring the community together, but it’s also really good for the environment in general.

6. Get everyone to use clean energy

Another thing that will be great for the environment is if you can get people in your neighborhood to switch to a greener energy source. Now, you might think the only way to do this is by encouraging everyone to get some solar panels up on their roofs, but that’s not exactly feasible in all situations. Instead, try to find out if a community solar option is available in your area. This way, all of you can subscribe to a shared solar farm and use cleaner energy without any difficulty.

7. Give a warm welcome to newcomers

It’s never easy to move into a community where people already know and are already comfortable with one another. For months, newcomers can feel like an outsider in their own community. So to make things better for everyone, take the time to extend a warm welcome to any new movers you might get during your stay in one neighborhood.

If you have the time and opportunity, invite them over for dinner or go out to brunch with them. Otherwise, a quick welcome basket or just saying hi to them on the streets would do.

8. Take on a community role

Finally, you have to find your place in the community by playing your strengths to take on a role. You could be the community’s go-to person when it comes to pet advice or the one they call for tips on how to grow their houseplants. Having this added value to having you as a neighbor would definitely make a difference, no matter where you live and what kind of community you are a part of.

We all know that no man is an island, but it’s sometimes hardest to reach out to the people living in closest proximity with us. Still, a little effort goes a long way, especially if your goal is to make a difference in your community.