I think we can all agree that 2020 taught us many things…and 2021 hasn’t stopped teaching us. A couple of months ago, I wrote about what I learned in 2020. One of the things I took away from last year was a clearer picture of what I wanted for my own future. A short-term goal that grew out of that is that I have a desire to show up more in my community.
Now, as an introverted homebody, sometimes going “out” is not the highest item on my priority list. Although, I think I may be an extroverted introvert, but that’s another conversation. While I am 100% an introverted homebody, I’m also a type 2 on the Enneagram, and one of the descriptive words used for this type is “helper.” I HAVE to help out when I see something or someone that needs to be helped.
coming out of 2020, I knew I wanted to Get more involved in my community.
At first, I was very overwhelmed and I felt like a very small fish in big pond. What was I going to do? Was it even going to matter? I did a lot of thinking and reflection, researching and learning. In the first couple of months of the year, I listed out a few ways I wanted to show up in my community this year. With a list in hand, the idea didn’t seem so overwhelming anymore and I was excited to implement my plan. So if you have the same desire, here are a few things I plan to do this year (and many of them can be done from the comfort of your own home).
How to Get Involved in Your Community
First and foremost, knowledge is power! Becoming informed about your community is key to getting involved. Growing up, the newspaper was a staple at my home. I remember both of my parents reading it daily (they still do). I also have clear memories of watching the news every night so being familiar with current events is almost second nature to me now. You can start with causes and organizations that are meaningful to you. Seek out resources online that can inform you as to what is happening in your school, city, state and the country. Start small! Social media can (rightfully so) get a bad rap for misinformation, but if you look closely, you can find reputable sources to help you be informed. Two of my favorites on social media are SharonSaysSo (nonpartisan, simply facts about current events and the workings of our government) and All Sides Now (lays outs side by side news stories from all sides for a well-rounded perspective, it’s important to look at issues from all sides!). And then, being well-informed helps you feel more prepared for…
I know we may all be tired of election talk, especially after last year, but the fact is that voting is important. And voting in local and state elections are just as significant. Those are the decisions that shape leadership, policy, and future plans right here in our backyards. Admittedly, while I have voted in the past, last year was the first time I can recall truly doing a deep dive into candidates on the ballots. While yes, the election cycle of 2020 was exhausting, it taught me a lot and I came out of it committed to being an informed voter for any future elections. We have a voice and we should use it!
A simple way to give back to the community without even leaving your home is making donations! In the weeks following the winter storm, I learned about so many amazing organizations in our area, the state and the country. One of my goals for the year is to make two donations each quarter to organizations that are important to me. Money is what allows organizations to continue to do what they do, so donating is a simple way to support those organizations and help your community! My husband and I have money that we each take from our monthly budget to use however we want. For my quarterly donations, I use my “personal” money and it really makes a difference for me!
Voting isn’t the only way to share your voice and get involved in your community. Contacting representatives, completing surveys, and answering questions are part of it as well. Again, I set a goal to contact my local and state representatives a certain number of times (more is fine, obviously!) and to share my opinions when the opportunity arises in different formats. When your school district sends out a survey asking for opinions and perspectives, make sure to send it in! If you hear about a policy or bill that is up for debate in your local or state government, send an email or make a call (I’ve only emailed so far because calling seems much more intimidating; can I text them instead?).
While not an at-home option, volunteering can be an excellent way to show up and give back to the community. Google is your friend to find organizations in your area that are meaningful to you. I also love justserve.org. We are all in different stages and seasons of life, but if physically getting out in the community is possible for you I know there are no shortage of opportunities! Start in your child’s school (next year, hopefully??) or at a food pantry in your city. I know sometimes we are tempted to feel like we have to go big, but it’s the small acts that add up to something big and great.
Whatever stage of motherhood and life you are in, I hope that if you have a desire to be more active in your community, this helps you to see that there are so many ways to do that! In your home, out of your home, online and in person, we all have something to offer and can make a difference where we live.