A sense of community can be a wonderful thing that helps you get up in the morning, but it can seem vague and hard to approach. Luckily, it’s not too hard once you set your sights on specific ways to get more involved in your community.
Be friendly and approachable
The best way to get involved in your community is to meet the people that form it. You can do anything from organizing a block party to spontaneously starting a conversation with someone who looks like they want to talk while out walking or shopping. A community is all about the people, so you need to create lasting connections with them. Even a positive impression would work.
Volunteer at your local library
Libraries offer a host of volunteering options. You can help out with the occasional book sale or participate in seasonal events like mini fairs, gingerbread house making, summer reading and other events that draw the community together. Not only will you get to know the librarians that work there, you’ll also get to meet more people in the community that frequent the library for one reason or another. The local library usually has a bulletin board with all the local events and news as well, so you can stay up to date on what’s going on and find out other ways to get involved.
Keep an eye out for events
Even in smaller communities, there’s always some sort of event going on or coming up soon that you can attend or help with. Festivals and fairs are a fun way to meet new people and get some tasty food at the same time. Many festivals feature dishes and drinks from local vendors; this gives you a sense of the good restaurants around town so you can then go out and support them.
Another great way to get involved and show support is by shopping at your local businesses. This doesn’t mean you have to quit shopping at a cheap, nation-wide grocery chain, but you should try to buy something from a local mom-and-pop shop or coffee place instead. Chances are, the owners of the local restaurants and stores know the area pretty well, so you can find out what’s going on and meet some new people if you strike up a conversation.
Support your local teams
Every place in the U.S. has some sort of sports team, whether it’s major league football or the elementary school soccer team. Showing love and support for the team and the players will go a long way to getting more involved in the community. If you aren’t a sports fan, you don’t have to go and watch the games. Many local teams will have annual bake sales or other fundraisers that you can take part in and maybe score some sweets in the process.
Join a club, organization or class
A lack of interest is not an excuse to pass on joining some sort of local club or group, because there’s a group for everything. Find something you’re passionate about and look for any classes or meetings based on that activity. There are a range of activities — some that require payment and some that are free — in every community, and it’s also an opportunity for you to try something new. Look at nearby recreation or community centers for existing classes and groups. If you can’t find a group based on your passion in your community, then start one of your own.
If you feel isolated or a bit disconnected from the community at large, follow one or more of these suggestions to get your foot in the door and become a contributing member of the community.