Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tips On Community Engagement

Get Out and Do Something - Helping In Your Community Helps You Too
Community involvement encompasses all manners of donating your time, skills or talents for the betterment of your community.  Volunteerism has a significant impact on the long-term sustainability and vitality of communities.  Since 2012 over 64 million Americans have volunteered in their communities either through social, religious or school groups. Becoming actively involved in your community not only benefits the recipients of your service, but also benefits the volunteer both personally and professionally.  Volunteerism fosters a sense of security and confidence in your surroundings.
All of us have met someone who will confess that their reluctance or hesitancy in getting involved in their community quickly gave way to feelings of personal satisfaction, accomplishment and purpose once they took the steps to become involved.  Many parents will admit that there is no greater example to set for children than one of service and giving back to the community.
It is a misconception to believe that volunteering or community engagement requires a significant time commitment.  If you are able to volunteer once a year, once a month or once a week, there is an opportunity for you to get involved.  Many causes, organizations or groups would greatly appreciate and benefit from any time you are able to donate.  One can be assured that your contribution of time and effort will make a difference.  You will gain a tremendous appreciation from the experience and it is likely that your first experience will not be your last.
Each of us has the power and capacity to change our world for the best.  This can start with our community and its most basic needs.  A volunteer serves as a role model for their families, friends and our community.  Beginning the process of becoming a volunteer is easier than we tend to imagine. 
In considering volunteering, begin with these active steps to begin your impact on the world through volunteerism and community service.
1. Evaluate your motivation
Ask yourself why you want to get involved, how you can get involved and what peaks your interest, concern or desire to assist.
For example, if you like to read, have interest in education and like young children, you may consider volunteering in a school or community center reading to young people or teaching them to read.
2. I like it and I’m good at it
Examine your talents and interest.  Note where your talents and interest intersect.  You may be able to offer your natural abilities to benefit your community.
What do I care about?
Find a subject or issue in which you have a specific or even general interest, such as education, sports or music.  Find a local group or organization that matches your interest.  Become active in a group that shares your interest.
3. Time Management
We all have time to do what we want to do or think is important.   Once you decide to get involved understand that this will require some time commitment.  It is best to realistically asses the amount of time you can regularly and consistently donate.
4. Take Action!
This is the most crucial step in getting involved with your community. After the examination, consideration, procrastination and maybe reluctance the time will come to take some active step in the process.  If you don’t know where to start, speak to family and friends to inquire about volunteering in your church, children’s school, a food bank or animal shelter.  The first step may be the most difficult, but may also be the most beneficial.

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