Growing up I lived with my grandparents for many years, and as a result I found myself more heavily involved with my local community than at any other point in my life. I can’t tell you how many Saturdays I would be dragged out of the house and be forced into what, at the time, my child brain thought of as another episode of “senior activities Menlo Park” (Menlo Park, for whatever reason, had a very high senior population in the early 2000’s). Looking back on these days, I can now appreciate how my grandparents instilled in me the desire to form healthy relationships with the people in my community and to be actively involved in trying to make it a better place. Here are some ways you can get involved in making your community better.
A neighborhood watch is an excellent way to get involved in your community and meet the people that surround you. Being apart of a neighborhood watch is a serious undertaking and it will take a lot of cooperation from everyone involved, which is what makes it such a great idea for forming a solidified bond with the members of your community. Not to mention you’re protecting your home from crime, which is always a plus.
Organize a Block Party
Block parties can be a lot of fun! They can also be great opportunities to get to know the different people in your community. Perhaps the best part about block parties are the way they can range from not so serious affairs of barbecuing in the yard and inviting everyone on the block all the way up to festival-sized events where you have the police block off the road and you get adult-sized bouncy castles for everyone. Block parties are one of the best ways to get involved in your community by encouraging interaction, socialization, and cooperation from everyone in it.
Volunteer at Local Soup Kitchens or Homeless Shelter
Another way to get involved and meet the members of your community is to volunteer some of your free time at a local soup kitchens or the local homeless shelter. No matter the size of the community you’re trying to integrate into and become more apart of, soup kitchens and homeless shelters are places where you can meet people from all walks of life and listen to the stories of the seemingly forgotten members of your community.
It might seem a little daunting and intimidating to try to get involved in politics, but there would be no national government without local government, which is why getting involved in your area’s local politics might be the best way to get involved with the community. You might not be the most charismatic person ever, but if you start with city councils and school boards you might find that getting into local politics is easy, all it takes is a “can do” attitude and a little bit of bravery to put yourself out there and to get to know all of the members of your community that are going to be affected by the decisions your local politicians are making.
Join a Religious Community
This is probably the easiest way to get involved with your community, because sometimes there are churches or synagogues or some other place of worship on almost every street corner it seems and they are continuously doing things to better the communities they are established in. No matter what religion you want to practice, there will always be a place for you to go and meet with other members of your community who think the same way you do. This makes it easier to talk to people and become friendly with them as you already have at least one thing in common.
So there you have it. There are plenty of ways to get more involved in your community, but these are some relatively simple ways to put yourself out there and become involved in shaping the future of the place you call home.