April is Community Service Month, and the season is right to get out there and take part in the world around you. There are so many beneficial and rewarding ways to forge bonds with others and bolster community spirit in your area, and they aren’t all immediately obvious. Consider the following:
Volunteer. Volunteering is likely the first thing to come to mind regarding community involvement, and with good reason. We all have talents to share, so why not put them to use for a good cause? In addition, correlations have been drawn between volunteerism and mental and physical wellbeing.
Attend local events. Art and music festivals, sports events, movie night in the park, and the list goes on. Keep your eyes open for local events that interest you, and make a point of going. You’ll support the efforts of others in your community and might make new friends with common interests.
Share your excess. Spring cleaning, anyone? Food, clothing, linens, household goods…most Americans have an excess of these things on hand. Donate to local charities and help others as you gain storage space and a possible tax write-off. Don’t forget that your extra money is always welcomed by nonprofits, too!
Shop local. Many local businesses are a labor of love, and supporting them not only feels good, but also keeps dollars in your community. From choosing thoughtful gifts at the art fair to buying your food at the community farmer’s market, these are steps that help build strong local bonds.
Join a group. Find the local stamp club and connect with fellow enthusiasts, take a yoga class to find inspiration in numbers, or meet up with other hikers and take to the hills. Whatever you’re into, chances are there’s a group for it in your area. You’ll meet others with the same interests and build a stronger community for yourself and others.
Organize an event. We’re not talking about a national scale campaign here – an event can be as simple as a car wash for your kids’ school or a neighborhood potluck barbecue. When you become an active part of your community, everyone benefits!