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Give back to your community. Believe it or not, it is much easier than you think.
Although ethical global travel is an amazing way to see the globe and give back at the same time, contributing in an ethical and sustainable way to the world can start in your very own backyard.
Not everyone has the time or means to be able to venture to another country or continent to take part in a service project, but everyone can find fun and easy ways to make a true difference right at home.
Here are some top-notch ideas that you can put into practice right away to give back to your community and make a real impact right where you live.
Hunger is one of the most recognizable signs of suffering that’s transmitted through images of people who are suffering abroad, especially in third-world countries. However, the truth is that there are many people suffering from hunger in local communities everywhere, even in affluent countries like the United States. Although this type of hunger isn’t as visible or dramatic as the type of hunger we see from abroad, it still needs and deserves attention.
A simple and impactful way to make a difference in your town or city is by volunteering at or donating to one of the many options available to help those suffering from hunger. Serving meals at a soup kitchen or a Meals on Wheels program is a great way to provide nourishment and human connection.
If you don’t have the time to volunteer, consider adding some extra non-perishable groceries to your cart on your next shopping trip, and then deliver them to a local food bank. Your neighbors with less to eat will be grateful, and you’ll have given back.
Young people are the future of your community, and investing in their well-being is a wonderful way for you to contribute to their success. There are many ways to get involved with the youth of your town or city.
You could volunteer to coach a sports team, like Little League or a community soccer team. Local school districts are struggling to find ways to provide recreational opportunities for their students in the midst of major budget cuts. Given the childhood obesity epidemic that the United States is facing, this is especially crucial.
This article from Oprah.com highlights the important impact that youth sports coaches can have on the young peoples’ confidence and self-esteem. While learning a sport is one of the primary goals of participating, the benefits far exceed just that.
Some of the children in your community don’t have positive adult role models in their lives, and by coaching a sports team, you can give them a healthy example. For others, sports is a way to learn about trying new things and succeeding, which will translate into all areas of their lives.
You may have heard about the extraordinary work of Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that brings together local volunteers to literally build a home for a family in need. Shelter is one of the most basic of human needs, and they say home is where the heart is. Those without a place to live desperately need help, and this is one way you can put your hands and heart to work.
An excellent example of this type of community engagement is shown in this video of Vista College volunteers who worked on a Habitat team to build a home for a local family. In the video, Admissions Director Jessica Gonzales explains how the project involves prospective students in the college’s mission of “creating opportunities.” There are likely many local organizations and businesses in your community that sponsor projects to give back; search them out and get involved.
One of the most surprising rewards of contributing to your local community often comes in the feeling that you’re actually getting back more than you’re giving. Many of those who get involved in local organizations through donations or volunteer projects come away with a renewed sense of self-worth and connection with their own community simply by taking action to be an involved and proactive neighbor.
Give Back to Your Community
With so many options available to give back to your community, you can get started right away. You’ll meet new people and have a better understanding of your community’s needs. As the saying goes: “Think global, act local.”