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Talking it Over: How to help your community

When you consider yourself part of a community, whether you live within the city limits or not, you are partially responsible for its success or failure, appearance and reputation. The things you say and do for your community reflect on it in many ways.

There are many ways to help your community. Some of them are quite simple while others could require some effort, time, talent and support. Here are just a few ideas for consideration if you want to make sure your community blossoms.

Elect caring people to serve on boards. This could be for city council, school board, economic development and any other group who is responsible for keeping the city going. Then after they are in office, keep in touch with them, not in a complaining or threatening manner, but rather with suggestions and encouragement.

Keep your property clean and attractive. Every inch of space within the community is a reflection on it. Property owners should mow their lawns, keep weeds down, maintain buildings and eliminate any accumulation of junk. Keep trees trimmed and replace when needed. Plant flowers or shrubs to add to the beauty of not only your property, but the entire community.

Get involved. There are many ways to help your community by getting involved in the organizations that keep it active and healthy. Find something of interest to you and don't just join but be an active member. It is also a great way to get to know other people in and around the community.

Support the school system. This doesn't just mean financial support but also by attending events held there and following the activities of the students. When approached by a student for fundraising, don't turn your back but rather help them out. Maybe even add a compliment for the organization for which they are raising funds. If it is a team, tell them that you are proud of their efforts. If it is the band or choir, make sure they know you enjoy the concerts or parade appearances.

Be active in an area church. The churches are an integral part of a community, even if they are not located within the city limits. Church participation builds a strong basis for other things. The community should also support the church by recognizing and taking into consideration church schedules, beliefs and special holidays.

Support area businesses. This is a key part of keeping those businesses in the community. Every successful town needs a main street, and several other streets, lined with stores and service providers. And in a similar way, business owners can help out the community by hiring locally, buying their goods and services locally and showing their support to community groups and individuals.

But most of all, support your community with your words. Encourage, admire and compliment the place you care about most.

These are just a few of the ways a person can help the community they call home. Even if you live in the rural area or just in the same county, go to church, school or shop in a community, you can consider it your own. A place that is more than just an address. It is friends, schoolmates, fellow employees, your church home, and quite possibly the place you most want to be after an extended abscense.