The term “community satisfaction” refers to people’s perspective on how their community supports and contributes to their well-being. In other words, how connected we feel to the place we call home directly affects our happiness.
Healthy, thriving communities are measured by many factors, including cleanliness, businesses, parks and recreation, events, education, entertainment, and much more. Often, we rely on state institutions, local initiatives, companies, and other organizations to make our environment a better place. As citizens, there is so much that we can do to help improve our community. No action or participation is too small.
If you are dissatisfied with some aspects of your neighborhood and want to see your community flourish, here are 5 ways to get involved and make a difference:
No one wants to walk down the street and see trash everywhere. Many nonprofits that organize cleanups and plant greenery have reported that efforts to beautify their neighborhoods have positively impacted their residents’ happiness and overall mental health.
If you see trash around, don’t wait for someone else to come up with a solution. You have the tools and support to make a difference. A clean environment benefits your environment and can create a sense of community by inviting others to participate. Here are some ways to transform your city into a place of comfort, safety, and joy:
- Create a Meetup group that brings members together to clean up the neighborhood by picking up trash, planting trees/flowers, and removing graffiti.
- Report vandalism, graffiti, or any other disturbances.
- Pick up trash whenever you are walking down the street and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.
- Teach your children the value of a clean environment inside and outside your house.
- Ask your neighbors to participate in a day of cleaning and beautifying their surroundings. You can play music and ask local restaurants to donate food to entice people to the outing.
Get Involved in Your Children’s School
We rely on our school system to provide a comprehensive curriculum, activities, and resources for our children. From school activities, dances, fundraisers, field trips, and academics, parents have endless ways to support their child’s school. This time investment not only benefits your child but supports other children in your community.
Nurturing children and supporting their journey at school impacts the overall health and success of the community and contributes to kids becoming well-rounded and valuable citizens.
Here are some simple ways to get involved:
- Join the PTA, or start a PTA if there isn’t one.
- Help schools’ fundraising efforts by hosting a bake sale, planning a sports tournament, having an art night, or collecting donations.
- Help plan and chaperone field trips.
- If you attended college and your child is in high school, connect their school with your alma mater for partnership opportunities or guest speakers.
- Volunteer for or plan a career day.
- Ask the school where they need help the most and recruit others to volunteer.
Create Events, Programs, and Groups Centered Around Your Interests
Many people find joy in gathering with other people with similar interests. Yet, not all places have the financial and people support to offer opportunities for these people to connect. If you can’t find local interest groups for activities and events you enjoy, consider starting a group that excites you and enables you to meet like-minded individuals.
Here are other ways to bring people with common interests together:
- Start an intramural sports team or league.
- Partner and plan community events with local churches, neighborhood groups, parks, and schools.
- Start a Girls Scout/Boys Scout chapter.
- Launch a parents club where adults and children engage in outings, such as park day or movies under the stars.
- Partner with local businesses. For example, if you want to create a “Coffee and Conversation” networking event for young business professionals, connect with a neighborhood coffee shop to host and help market the event.
Support Small Businesses
A great way to help your community is by investing in its economy. When local businesses grow and prosper, their communities also benefit from their success. Small businesses create job opportunities, keep tax money in the city or town that you live in, build a sense of identity, diversify the marketplace, and circulate money locally. To begin, shop local. Buy groceries at mom-and-pop shop stores, grab a meal at your favorite soul food or taqueria restaurant, and purchase unique gifts for birthdays and holidays from small gift shops and artisans.
Raise Your Voice at the Townhall Meetings
Have a grievance about an unsafe pedestrian walkway or want to see a local garden in your city? Speak up! Attend town hall meetings, ask questions, make suggestions, offer support, give and take surveys, and meet new neighbors. City officials don’t always have insight into the needs of your neighborhood. As a resident, you have valuable opinions, first hand experience, and comments to bring to light. Be a proactive leader by bringing your children and encouraging your neighbors to join in to have their voices heard.