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5 Ways to Make a Difference in Your Community

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The best way to foster change in your community is to take matters into your own hands and get involved.

According to Quint Studer, author of “Building a Vibrant Community: How Citizen-Powered Change Is Reshaping America,” pointing the finger at local government when we’re unhappy with conditions in our local communities is usually counterproductive. As Studer says, when it comes to community, there is no they; there is only we.  

Here are five of Studer’s suggestions for diving in and effecting change in your local community.

Start by shifting your mindset. Take an ownership approach to your community, making it your responsibility. This will allow you to start thinking about everyone’s needs, not just yours and your family’s. Such a mindset is critical for a vibrant community, says Studer.

Know how decisions get made. Get educated on the decision-making process in your community so you can target your efforts to effect change. Visit your town hall and find out how your local government works. You may be able to sit in on legislative meetings, or they may even offer classes for citizen involvement.

Get to know your neighbors. In today’s world, we value our privacy and often spend less time interacting with neighbors. But instead, spend more time talking to people at school functions, in the grocery store, or while walking the dog, and get their input on community issues. Joining your neighborhood association is a great way to jump-start this effort.

Gain support for causes. Champion the causes that are important to your community by partnering with larger, potentially national, groups that share your interest. You will benefit from their best practices and perhaps even establish a local branch in your community. Collaboration gives your cause greater reach and access to resources.

Support your community in big and small ways. Whether it’s shopping at local businesses, volunteering at the local animal shelter, or helping your elderly neighbor rake leaves, remember to make a difference in your community every day, as opposed to just working on larger, long-term initiatives. This type of daily participation is just as important to your community’s well-being.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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