Direct Action: Getting More Involved in Your Community

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cleaning the street

Community service is one of those things that make you better the more you give of yourself. It creates far-reaching ripples which can touch the lives of more people than you can ever know. Giving back is easy; it is enough to donate food to a soup kitchen, money to a charity, and secondhand clothes to a women’s shelter. But if you are still feeling unfulfilled it could be that you need to take more direct action.

There are people whose lives could improve to an unquantifiable amount because of the specific help you could offer. Volunteer your time at the soup kitchen so that the people who go there have a friendly face to welcome them. Offer any charity training courses or seminars that the people who they help can benefit from. Charities that work with children would appreciate giving the children an amusement park or camping experience. The women’s shelter would benefit more from an offer to subsidize the costs of consultations with divorce attorneys or family lawyers.

Sometimes, what we need is to see the direct benefit that we bring to someone’s life through our actions. Choose the activities that you understand and can perform to the best of your ability. This will allow you to feel more anchored to the knowledge that you are doing something that helps people to improve their circumstances.

Type of Impact

It may help you to understand the kind of impact you want to have when doing community service. This will help you to narrow down what you can do. A quantifiable impact comes in the form of knowing exactly how much work you did or how many people you directly impacted. Teaching a class at a community center, or tutoring underprivileged children gives you exact numbers. You could also set a specific number for the items you donate such as canned food or blankets. These activities allow you to know exactly what impact you were able to have. Activities like planting a community garden or donating blood, while noble and useful, will not truly allow you to know exactly how many lives were touched by your actions. You would simply need to trust that the people who needed it most received the fruits of your labor.

Improve Yourself

woman holding a toy house

Many of the activities you can undertake for community improvement can also help improve your skills and interests. Teaching classes makes you a better teacher and helps you to gain a deeper understanding of your subject. You will learn effective communication, people skills, and it will look very good on your resume or college application. If you struggle to find time to give back around your daily schedule, then consider combining the two. Teaching people how to carry out your hobby or learn a sport that you are good at will allow you to give back without missing out on anything you enjoy. Sharing something you love with others will help you to gain a better feel for others and make you more empathetic while also increasing your appreciation for the activity or hobby.

Helping Children

Many people find greater value in community service activities which allow them to better the lives of children. They are indeed one of the most vulnerable sectors of society and your help or intervention could help a child to make better choices or have enough hope to stay on a good path. It takes so little to make a child happy. Visit with and provide entertainment for sick children in hospitals. Offer your tutoring skills to children from low-income neighborhoods. Donate stuffed animals and backpacks to children’s shelters. Organize trips and activities that underprivileged children would not be able to access due to financial constraints. This applies to sports and music programs.

Teenagers are also children but their advanced age can often lead to them not receiving adequate support and guidance. This can be very stressful for children who do not have access to many resources. Volunteer to be a teen crisis counselor, or with the Big Brother program. This will allow you to help teens who are in need and help them make better choices and perhaps even learn that they do have choices.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it harder for many people to carry out their community service activities. It has been difficult for everyone and taken a great toll on mental health across all ages. Now that things are improving and people can hold socially distanced events, it might be helpful to throw a big event to bring the community together physically again. Discuss well with stakeholders and make clear rules that everyone must agree to respect. Then have a fair and bake sale with a blood drive. It covers so many needed, necessary activities that will contribute to your community while allowing people to come together and get back in touch with their neighbors.

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