A community can be looked at a macro and micro level. At the macro-level, a community would be considered all of Tacoma and the people/businesses that make Tacoma what it is today. At the micro-level, a community would be considered you, your neighbors, and the local mom-and-pop store a block away. Whether you’re considering your community at a macro or micro level, it is important to get involved. Community involvement does not always need to be some large endeavor like running for mayor. It can be done on a much smaller scale. The importance in it all, is that the involvement ACTUALLY occurs!
Some of us are very community oriented or put in a position that allows us to engage because our job requires it. Others may be at a loss for how to get involved and you ask, how do I become more involved in my community? There are many different ways and you can pick an option (or create one) that best fits your lifestyle and personality type. Yes – even us introverts can find regular community events that give us fulfillment vs. stress!
Here are a few EASY ways to support and stay involved in your community:
1. Shopping Local
When you shop local, you are putting money into your community’s economic growth and encouraging the success of small businesses rather than large corporations who try and monopolize areas with lower incomes. We see this largely on the Eastside of Tacoma with the multiple openings of 7-11 convenience stores, next to or across the street from mom and pop stores. Choose to spend your dollars at locally owned stores, will help them stay open and be able to serve the communities they are in. They are our neighbors.
By visiting the jennywetzelhomes.com blogs and facebook page weekly, you will find new small and local businesses spotlighted in blogs. Read those blogs and find great businesses that you can support around town.
2. Attending Local Events and Community Meetings
In the age of social media, finding local events around you is as simple as a Google search. Facebook is another great tool for connecting with those in your community. By joining community based groups or liking community pages will keep you updated on what’s going on around town. Make a goal to attend at least one community event or meeting a month. Becoming a well-known member of your community can come with a lot of returned resources, connections, opportunities and personal fulfillment.
Personally I’ve experienced this feeling of better fulfillment, when I shop and support fellow small business owners. It is an incredible feeling to know that I am making a positive difference at the ground level within my community!
Some examples of communities that hold meetings are:
- Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council of Tacoma (ENACT)
- North Slope Historic District (NSHD)
- Ruston Way Planning and Community Development
Becoming more involved in your community can be done from your block and even in your house (leaving periodically is advised). All it it takes is:
3. Getting to Know your Neighbors
Knowing the people around you is a great start to getting involved in your community. No one wants a neighbor who is constantly in their business, but a neighbor who is friendly and caring is appreciated. Small gestures like gift baskets, or freshly baked goodies help create a bond between you and your neighbors by simply saying “hi, I was thinking about you” in a non-creepy kind of way. Being able to gauge your neighbors and the type of people they are will allow you to determine the kind of relationship you will have with them. If they seem like open people that you can connect with coordinating lunches or coffee dates is never a bad idea (you can even offer to pay). This can lead to neighborhood BBQs and much more, just by taking some time to show your face and recognize that you are both a part of the same micro-community.
4. Donate or Volunteer
When you finally get around to cleaning out your closet and realize there are so many pieces of clothing and shoes you haven’t thought about wearing for the last 3 years, you donate instead of throwing them away! As Christmas time comes around, make a point of donating a few small toys to a local toy drive. This can give a low-income child the Christmas morning joy they’ve always dreamed of. Volunteering is just as helpful in your community. Having good people who pass on positive energy is sometimes all a person needs. You can look into volunteering at local schools and events, whenever time permits.
And finally! Do not forget to..
The most common excuse for people not voting is “my one vote won’t make a difference.” But if a thousand people have that same mindset then that is 1000 lost votes that could have changed your community for the better. Voting is more involved than just picking the next president of the United States – that is the most macro-level of voting in our society. Voting comes in micro-levels as well, such as voting for congress, mayor, city council, or initiatives. With 2020 being a leap year, participating not only in voting but also in the census is imperative to the next 10 years of your communities future funding, resources and growth. Be a part of the positive change!
Becoming more involved in your community at either the macro or micro level is as simple as just doing something. There is an option for all people to get involved and you never have to be pressured to be involved as much as a city council member but donating a pair of shoes or casting a vote has just as much impact. Take care of your community and watch your community take care of you.