How to Make a Difference in Your Community

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There is great joy to be had in making a difference in the lives of others. It makes us feel connected and gives us a sense of purpose. Just living for ourselves can leave us feeling a bit empty inside, a bit lost. There are no shortages of causes that need your help, and some problems can seem so big that you can’t imagine how you would make a difference. But, there are plenty of things you can do right in your own community to help improve the lives of your neighbors, to make it a better place to call home. Here are a few ideas for improving your little corner of existence.

Brainstorm Where Your Help May Be Needed

Watching the local news or reading the local paper can be a great source of inspiration for ideas on how to help your community. What problems are you seeing? What needs are not being met? What do you think you could do to help? Get together with a group of people, whether it’s your local Chamber of Commerce, church group or friends, and discuss the problems in your community to see how you can address them.

Organize a Food Drive

The number of Americans in need of food assistance has been steadily climbing in recent years, and organizing a food drive is one of the most powerful ways to help those in need. Get in touch with local food pantries to see which items they are in need of the most. Hop on Facebook, put up some fliers in local establishments and reach out to your local paper to get those donations pouring in.

Start a DIY Learning Group

There are all sorts of things people want to learn to do on their own, whether it is just to create a greater sense of self-reliance or save money by completing projects on their own or improving their life in some way. Do you have a particular skill or expertise in an area that the people from which the people of your community can benefit? Are there people who you feel may be able to teach people something and would be willing to volunteer some of their time? The internet has lots of resources for promoting your group, such as MeetUp, Yahoo Groups or Google Groups. Promote groups through social media, ads in the local paper, fliers or email.

Volunteer

Organizations rely heavily on people providing two things to them—their money and their time. Sometimes the latter is harder to give up than the former, but you don’t need to devote hours and hours a day to make a difference in your community. Just a couple of hours a week can suffice. Reach out to schools, senior centers, hospitals, animal shelters or any other organization that relies on volunteers to see what they need. If you have any specific professional skill set, you might consider donating some time to an organization in need, whether it is helping them organize their books or build their website.

Join a Board or Commission

If you really want to get involved in bettering your community, look into any commissions or boards that have been established to address certain issues in your area. For example, there may be a commission that works to support local libraries or beautify the area. Reach out about becoming a member or at the very least, ask if there is any way to work with them on their causes.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about volunteering, philanthropy, and specific organizations, such as the William Lauder children who benefit from the Fresh Air Fund, getting the chance to get out of the city and into the beauty of nature.

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