When it comes to creating change, we often set our sights on monumental issues like ending world hunger or finding a cure for cancer. And while there’s nothing wrong with either of these goals, our time, energy, and resources are often best spent creating change locally. That begs the question, what does it look like to invest in your community for the purpose of fostering positive change?
5 Ways to Invest in Your Community
Nothing is more powerful in this world than a strong community. When you have a group of people who understand how to leverage their resources to create positive and healthy businesses, programs, and relationships, anything could happen. In fact, if we would start focusing more on building up our communities before other communities in need, we would (ironically) be better equipped to serve the communities that truly have unmet needs.
This isn’t about being selfish – it’s about being smart. In the same way that an airline stewardess instructs passengers to put on their own oxygen mask before helping those around them, we should be focused on building up our own community “strength” first, so that we can use it to spark change elsewhere.
Not sure where to start? Here are several ways you can invest in your community:
- Cultivate a Community Garden
There’s something unifying and healing about a garden. It’s a landscape of love that requires hard work. But with the right amount of both, it eventually produces a harvest. It’s a tangible exhibition of the power of patience. A few seeds, properly prepared and cared for, can produce nourishment for a community. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Community gardens are popping up all over the place – in both urban areas and big cities, as well as in rural communities and suburbs. And while there will be some red tape involved in starting one (unless it’s land you already own), it’s a project worth pursuing. Here are some helpful tips to make the process a little easier.
- Host Community Events
You can’t build a community without people and relationships. And to develop relationships, there have to be reasons to gather together. Special community events are a great way to make this happen. Easy opportunities include major holidays and events, such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
- Support Local Small Businesses
It’s really hard to have a community if there aren’t businesses. People need jobs and money in order to own homes and put food on the table. And the best way to create jobs is by building sustainable and profitable businesses.
If you’ve been blessed with solid finances, perhaps you could combine resources with your peers to begin supporting local small businesses through partnerships or loans. In fact, local banks and lenders could do a world of good by modernizing lending practices and focusing on small businesses.
- Put Your Money With a Local Bank
Speaking of local banks, they’re few and far between these days. If your community is lucky enough to have a small bank or credit union in the area, consider switching to them. By supporting local banks, you also support local lending. In turn, you’re indirectly supporting other local businesses, which keep the wheels of the local economy moving.
- Become a Foster Parent
While it’s not a decision that you just make on the fly after reading an article, we’d highly encourage you to consider becoming a foster parent. There are currently more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. There are likely dozens (if not hundreds) in your own community.
Becoming a foster parent is an act of tremendous sacrifice. But it’s also something that can quite literally change a child’s life and put them on a path toward being a healthy and thriving individual. If you’re interested in learning more about what this means, you can learn more here.
Adding it All Up
Every community has its own unique needs. But there’s a pretty good chance that you could spark positive change by implementing one of the aforementioned suggestions. Whether it’s something simple and hands-on like cultivating a community garden, or something more sacrificial like becoming a foster parent, there are always opportunities to love those around you. In doing so, you strengthen the fabric of your community.