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Have you ever heard the phrase THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY? I’m a big believer in the idea that making changes on a global scale can (and should) start close to home. Do you agree?
Because we moved this summer, I have a whole new town to get to know. And with that, comes some responsibility.
I want to make a difference at this NEW local level…but how do I get started?
You might be in a similar boat. Lately, I’ve been brainstorming ways I can “act locally” to make a difference in my new community. So I thought I’d share some of my ideas and I hope you’ll share yours in the comments below!
5 ways to make a difference in your neighborhood…
Support a Local Nonprofit
Do your research about local nonprofits who are working to make your community a better place. If you find one that supports a cause close to your heart, look into ways you can support the organization. Send in a donation or volunteer your time. Be sure to sign up for their mailing lists (or add them on social media) so you can stay in the know about their upcoming events and new ways to participate/show your support!
Volunteer Your Time
Along with volunteering for those nonprofits, you could also volunteer your time to help a local community service. There might be quite a few in your neighborhood that can’t afford to employ full-time staff and rely on the help of volunteers. Think: Staffing for your local library’s book sale, eating lunch with students at the neighborhood elementary school, or maintaining the walking trail at the park up the street. Whether you can offer an hour of your time or an entire day, the community will be grateful for your service.
Work FOR the Community, Not Just IN It
Re-frame your professional relationship with your neighborhood. Your community shouldn’t just be a location. Consider ways you can make the community a better place through your work. Network with other local businesses and professionals and brainstorm ways to lift up this place you all call HOME.
If you’re looking for a new career or are just starting out — there are lots of jobs and careers that focus on helping your community and the people who reside their. Social work, teaching, working in healthcare, and first-responders are all great options to explore.
[Related: Wilfrid Laurier University now offers an online master of social work that you can work towards at home. Check it out!]
Be a Good Neighbor
Like it or not, you are in a relationship with your neighbors. So it’s best to do what you can to make that relationship a good one. Respect their property (and, honestly, their view of your property; ie. don’t leave your outdoor space lookin’ like a hot mess!), help them out when you can (without expecting anything in return), and treat them how you’d like to be treated (as in, don’t mow your lawn at 6am on a Saturday if you don’t wanna listen to their loud music at 1am on a Thursday–ya dig?). Also, check in on elderly neighbors and keep an eye on kiddos playing outside. It takes a village and all that.
Take Care of the Environment
No one likes a litter-bug! If your local area has a litter problem, consider organizing a clean-up or litter pick. Round up a few of those neighbors (who all love you thanks to the tips mentioned above) and head out with the aim of clearing up some of the mess. You could also lead the charge on setting up a community compost. Composting not only transforms waste into soil (which you could use for a community garden!), but it also cuts greenhouse gas emissions from the breakdown of organic matter in landfills.
Other ideas for taking care of the environment in your ‘hood:
* Grow or make your own food and organize swaps with your neighbors.
* Advocate to make your community more walkable and bikeable.
* Shop local and join a CSA.
* Plant trees.
* Keep your lawn-care eco-friendly.
* Team up with local officials to create more green spaces (or preserve those that already exist).
Alright babes. What would you add? I’m all ears. How do you make a difference in YOUR neighborhood? What are the ways you act locally to impact the world? Tell us!