1. Go for the Obscure– What I’ve learned in years past is that the best opportunities often lie in unexpected places. Instead of volunteering at a popular spot in your community, shoot for the places that mean the most to you. Is there a park in your town that you love to go to? Do you always find yourself shopping at a cute farmer’s market? These are the kinds of places that can often use a lot of help. Whether you’re offering to pick up litter or hand out flyers, you’ll experience immense gratitude and feel proud of what you’re doing.
2. Get Involved Politically– Even if you find politics complicated or boring, becoming politically active can boost your confidence and leadership skills. I recently joined a congressional campaign in my district, making phone calls and knocking on doors to encourage people to vote. I even got to speak with the candidate I support! This type of experience is rewarding in that you can truly see yourself making a difference — and whether you’re super political or not, it’s a wonderful opportunity to bring attention to issues that are important to you.
3. Shop Locally– Supporting your community with your wallet is an excellent way to get active. If you’re looking for a place to have lunch with your pals, try a small diner or café that is well-known in your town. If you need to buy your mom a birthday present, try going to a local boutique instead of the mall. Small businesses are very appreciative of their customers, and buying from them more often can personally connect you to both the products and the people behind them.
4. Go Exploring– Simply enjoying the unique nature of your community can be meaningful. Instead of going on a day trip to another city, try going somewhere in your town that you have never been to before. Not only is vacationing in your hometown inexpensive, but you’ll feel a greater sense of belonging and pride in your community
5. Get to Know Your Neighbors – Even if you already have a solid friend group, have a chat with your fellow community members! Whether it’s a book club at the library, a religious youth group or a running club, joining organizations will help you connect to those around you. Putting yourself out there and trying something different will increase your confidence and ability to meet new people in the future!
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