Here’s a question for you – what do you do to give back to your community?
How much do you know about your community?
No, I’m not being that annoying person with a bright coloured jacket and a clipboard asking for donations in the street. It’s much more than that – for one, you’re reading this in the comfort of your home and haven’t got someone trying to catch your attention… unless you’re not alone and you’re not paying any attention to them. Awkward.
There’s so many ways of helping out your community. It’s one of the things I love doing – whether it’s intentional or not! So this blog post will be exploring how I give back to the community, and how you can too.
According to NCVO, over 14.2 million people formally volunteered (e.g. working with organisations and groups) in 2015-2016, while 18 million people informally volunteered (e.g. helping individuals not associated with an organisation).
What benefits does helping out have?
- Developing and enhancing personal and professional skills
- Meeting new people
- Boost of self-confidence
- Adding work experience to your C.V.
- Learning more about the community and those you’re helping
- Making a difference to a cause or someone’s life
- Experience new things – from travelling to cooking!
- Getting fit – especially if it’s anything to do with sport
But most importantly, it’s a way of demonstrating your support to the services who are established in the communities. If you have used these services, volunteering is a way of giving back and ultimately, saying thank you.
How, and why, do I give back to my community?
If you were to ask any of my friends and family, they would more likely say that I’m a caring person. I put others before me, whether it’s a close friend or a stranger.
For me, every time I know I’ve contributed to a community in some way, I get a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside. But my main focus is supporting that cause.
I wouldn’t say I restrict myself to one community… on reflection I give back to multiple communities:
- Education: As well as my day job, I volunteer as a Governor at a local college that I attended most of my education life. They helped me develop skills as a student, and I want to ensure that they keep the students at the heart of the community and give back in anyway possible.
- Blogging: One of the reasons HEY. Bloggers was launched was purely because myself and others felt so isolated and lost in Hull and East Yorkshire. Now, we put on events, workshops and opportunities to meet up to encourage others to grow and develop in their blogs so they don’t feel like they’re on their own.
- Performing Arts: My background is in the arts, and though I’m more focused on Education, I still have a love for the theatre. Therefore, I will still do backstage workshops, contribute to fundraisers to help young people audition at Drama Schools, or judge at local and national competitions. To see young people be able to express their creativity in a safe environment means so much to me, and without art I think the world would be a little darker.
- Inclusion: I believe that our community as a whole should be as inclusive as possible. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, lifestyles and have various visions for their future, that we as a community should be there to support and encourage. Causes such as Pride in Hull encourage people to use their voice and celebrate the journey everyone comes through.
How can you give back to the community?
There’s ways of doing so, and the best part is you can be as creative as you wish! Here are some examples:
- Volunteering: Being a governor at a local school or college, mentoring, visiting those who are lonely (e.g. residential homes), community clean ups and walking those cute dogs.
- Raising money: Sponsored activities (especially challenging ones that you’ve never considered before!), cake sales, putting loose change towards charity.
- Donate: Food, clothes, toys, potential raffle prizes, homemade items (such as knitted blankets and hats for babies) and money.
- Random Acts of Kindness: Check in on loved ones, smile at people, talk to a stranger and check in that they’re OK, holding the door open, leave money in the vending machine for the next person, write something positive and leave it on the bus/street/in a cafe and surprising a friend with a gift.
- Spreading the word: Sharing an event on Facebook (even if you can’t make it!), sharing petitions for a cause and letting others know about key information, such as local organisations for the homeless when its getting cold.
- Supporting each other: Sponsoring friends and family taking part in challenges, liking other bloggers content, sharing and buying local artists work, shopping at small local businesses, meeting up with others (bloggers or artists) and giving positive feedback on experiences.
If you’re not sure what your community is, or where you stand with it, why not get involved to find out more? Contact local causes or ask friends what they do to give back. Even shadow them for a few hours to see what the community is all about.
What do you do to give back to the community? Comment below!
Until next time,