I adore my current residence. It’s the ideal tiny town, kind of like Stars Hollow, with a few excellent bakeries, wonderful restaurants, and one amazing place for karaoke. In my seven years here, I’ve discovered that one of the best things about living here is the people and their dedication to our town.

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To effect change in our nation, you don’t need to be a senator or congresswoman. Actually, you can make instant and meaningful decisions—no matter how small—that will help you and those around you when you think locally. The best part is that you can start right now with nothing stopping you!

Thus, here are six ways you may contribute, along with some clear examples to get you started, if, like me, you want to have a positive influence on your community but aren’t exactly sure where to start.

1. Act Like a Neighbor

Saying hello to a stranger you see on the street may sometimes make all the difference in someone’s day. I’ve lived in communities where people didn’t know one another’s names, and now I have neighbors who drop cake-filled gift bags on my door. Guess which one I like more.

Knowing the people in your immediate vicinity will enable you to develop empathy for the neighborhood so that you may utilize your voice (foreshadowing!) to the advantage of everyone.

Here are some suggestions for being a considerate neighbor:

Serve as a welcoming host for newcomers to your neighborhood.

Offer to pick up their groceries, shovel their driveways, or carry their garbage cans up their driveways in order to assist your elderly or vulnerable neighbors.

Make use of your abilities to mentor other community members.

Organize a block celebration. (Once it’s safe to do so, that is.)

Find out more about the past of the area where you live.

2. Speak Up

You hold beliefs. Why not put them to good use? Having been acquainted with your neighbors, you may now use your influence to assist them, whether it by backing their enterprises, drawing attention to their concerns, or guaranteeing that they are informed of significant events.

Being an introverted person, speaking out at a town meeting is uncomfortable for me. However, social media allows me to voice my opinions without drawing attention to myself while remaining in the safety of my own home.

Here are a few techniques for using your voice:

Write favourable evaluations about nearby companies.

Communicate critical information to a group of online community members.

Participate at town meetings and voice your thoughts. Show your support for initiatives that will benefit your town or community or speak out against policies that you find objectionable.

Cast your ballot. Every municipal election, not just the one every four years.

3. Invest Your Time

A town or city needs a lot of people to keep things running well, not just those who are paid to do it. Serving others via volunteer work is a fulfilling way to give back and may also provide you invaluable experience. Consider the abilities you possess (or wish to acquire) that could be beneficial to others.

Maybe you had more free time during the epidemic since your prior interests required you to spend a lot of time indoors? There are countless ways to volunteer your time, whether you want to work alone or in conjunction with a group that is making improvements to your community.

Here are a few opportunities for you to volunteer:

Trash a park.

Give back to the library by volunteering.

Visit the shelter with your pets.

Plan a food or coat drive.

Construct a small, free library or pantry.

Join the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) as a volunteer.

Take charge of a Girl Scout troop.

4. Don’t Trust Your Words With Your Money

Perhaps you don’t have a lot of time these days. Are you able to improve the financial situation in your town or city? I try to see the money I spend as a small vote that I am casting for causes that I believe in. Investing money can be a straightforward method for me to influence the success of new businesses in my community, be it a charming park I like to stroll through or a new barbecue restaurant.

Most neighborhood companies, restaurants, and organizations could use a little more help because of the epidemic. Therefore, take into account where your money will go furthest before choosing to buy from a big-box internet store or your neighbor Sara, who has a gift shop two blocks away.

Here are a few ways you may contribute money to your community:

Purchase locally.

Contribute to regional organizations.

Contribute to a neighborhood event.

Encourage a neighbor who needs more help to raise money on their GoFundMe.

Take up a seat, buy a brick for the walkway, etc.

5. Apply green paint to the town

Regardless of one’s stance on environmental awareness, everyone aspires to live in an area that is fragrant, green, tidy, and clean. (Incidentally, my town has a funnel cake scent.) Even though your home may be green, what can you do to improve your town or city?

You may do things that are excellent for the environment, even better for your neighborhood, and excellent for you personally. For instance, my town has a bike-share scheme wherein a volunteer organization maintains bikes and charges $25 a year to rent them out. A bike for $25 is a great deal! A food co-op allows you to get tasty, organic food at reasonable prices while also supporting local farmers. In addition to giving your neighborhood a unique green area, planting a community garden allows you to socialize and spend time outside. It benefits both parties!

The following are some ideas for greening your town:

Use the bus, train, walking, bicycling, skateboarding, rollerblading, unicycling, etc.

Install recycling centers throughout the area.

Make use of reusable shopping bags.

Launch a program for community composting.

Participate in or plant a communal garden.

Participate in a community supported agriculture (CSA) or food co-op.

If you have a tree in your yard, plant it.