What it really means to help the community?
Now if you’re reading this blog, it’s probably because you are interested and involved in the Jack Petchey Foundation and what they do, and you want to be a part of a movement of positive social change.
How to help the community? Well it’s simple. The easiest way to get involved is to volunteer your time in charity shops, and in public events such as council garden parties, or maybe join a new scheme starting in the area that might focus on a certain aspect, for example – cleaner, greener, environments. But does this actually help your community? It certainly does…to an extent.
I think that the best way to impact the local community is by ‘RAKs’ – ‘random acts of kindness’. Simple, small, and sometimes unnoticed, but always worthwhile. I don’t know about you, but I really do appreciate the little things in life; people offering to carry heavy things for me, strangers holding doors open for me, friends helping me with some work. It’s these little parts of my day that really put me in a good mood and make me question myself; have I offered to help anyone today? If I haven’t, that will usually become one of my goals for the next day or week.
Charity work is still a brilliant opportunity to get involved in an organisation! You can work with other people in a team towards a common goal, and gain valuable skills from your work. Large charity events are a great way to support community cohesion, and there are many schemes which you can get involved in on a local, or national scale, to benefit those in your borough/county or city. Despite the endless opportunities to volunteer your time in a charity, it can sometime seem a little bit daunting. Try starting small.
Helping others in the community is easy! Be yourself! Do you have a talent or skill which other people can enjoy? Maybe you play an instrument and could hold mini concerts with some friends in a nearby hospice? Maybe you are an avid gardener? Offer to maintain/water your next door neighbour’s plants (if you’re lucky, they may even feel generous and provide you with payment!). Another good idea is to offer to wash your neighbour’s car if it’s needed. The opportunities are endless! I repeat the word ‘’offer” quite frequently, because helping the community requires you to sacrifice something of your own to benefit others. For most of us who don’t yet have jobs, the best thing we can offer is our time.
If you’re struggling for ideas, don’t overthink it. Make it a daily target to smile at 10 strangers, hold the door open for a stranger 5 times, and maybe offer up your seat on the bus/train to someone who could use it more than you! Make a great first impression on everyone that you meet. The more people that you help, the more people will be willing to reciprocate that action to someone else. ‘Pay your actions forward’, and start a chain of voluntary goodwill in your home, school, workplace and community.
Experiences and memories of people you have met are usually more memorable than only events that you have been to. Three quarters of adults over 70 have said that they feel lonely! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could get to know a young person, such as yourself, and make a new friend! Have something in their week to look forward to? You really would be helping the wellbeing of those in your community, physically, mentally and socially. If face to face meetings are not something you feel comfortable with, then maybe you are suited to a more behind-the-scenes role? You could volunteer to do some paperwork for another volunteer and free up their time! Not only would you build your office skills, but you could open up new doors for you to pursue in your future (networking, work experience, training etc.). Every little helps in the grand scheme of social action!
What I am trying to get at, is that helping the community cannot be measured by the amount of hours volunteered, or the organisations you have associated yourself with. It should be measured by an unmeasurable factor; how many people have you positively impacted directly or indirectly? Being an active face for the community is great, but without the endless hours of hard work and planning done by those in the office, nothing would get done! In whatever capacity you choose to get stuck in, be committed to the cause…but remember to have fun!