Whether you’re new to a city and wishing to expand your friend circle or have been a local for years and are just looking to give back, there are so many ways to volunteer within your community. Plus, involvement is mutually beneficial; it uplifts the local community and has proven physical and mental health benefits for the person devoting their time to bettering the neighborhood around them. Todd Walls, a Law Enforcement Officer and former Chief of Police with the West Buechel Police Department, provides invaluable tips on the best ways to get involved.
Support a local sports team
Are you an avid sports fan? Then getting involved with a local sports team might be just the ticket to get you more involved with your community! The first step in supporting your local basketball, baseball, football, or soccer team is to simply attend the games. For the players, having fans in the stands cheering them on makes a world of difference. Beyond that, Todd Walls suggests you consider volunteering your time to help the sports teams thrive. This could take the form of running the concession stand, organizing and executing fundraising events, doing live commentary at the games, or promoting the team on social media.
Getting involved in your community can be as simple as shopping locally, shares Todd Walls. Make a conscious effort to visit the independent coffee shop over Starbucks or the Saturday morning farmers’ market over the chain supermarket. These small changes will have a big impact on your community and will likely allow you to make personal connections with the locals who run and operate these businesses.
Participate in a clean-up project
There’s no better way to give back than by joining local clean-up efforts. After all, this type of community involvement helps the environment, the town, and you. It’s a win-win-win! Check out your city’s website, as well as those of the schools and organizations in the region, to find out if there are any community clean-up events coming up.
Hit the library
According to Todd Walls, visiting your local library provides you with a great chance to meet other locals and feel more involved. Plus, libraries are often hubs of community activity, hosting various programs and lectures throughout the year. This could be a gateway to getting involved with a special event, or even starting to volunteer by reading books to children on the weekends.
Volunteer at an animal shelter
Pets are an integral part of any community, so if you’re an animal lover then volunteering at the local pet shelter might be right up your alley. Todd Walls shares that animal shelters are often in dire need of volunteers, whether they’re looking for someone to work at adoption events, help with data entry, or walk the dogs. If you don’t have that much time to devote, Todd Walls also recommends stopping in once a week just to give the animals a bit of love and attention. After all, who doesn’t want to cuddle with a puppy after a long day at the office?