Political unrest, racial inequality, economical distress, homelessness – these and other concerns are social crises that are at the heart of our community and neighborhood.
When pondering these travesties, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It might also be tempting to question, “How can I possibly make a difference?”
It’s natural to sometimes buckle under the increasing pressure of political, economic and social injustices weighing upon your conscience. However, the good news is that you can make a difference by taking small actions to improve our community.
How Does Kindness Make a Difference?
You might be surprised at how one, random act of kindness can make a huge impact not only on your community but also on your own wellbeing. There is a science behind good deeds that show simple acts of prosocial kindness can influence brain chemistry in such a way that it reduces depression. Furthermore, small steps for positive change and reform can render great improvements in neighborhoods and communities and the people who live in them.
While big budgets and political campaigns rallying for reform might put a dent in the issues at hand – more often than not, tiny steps for improvement can make just as much of an impact. Here are a few examples of how small steps can make titanic changes for the better in our society and neighborhoods.
Start in Your Own Backyard
In most cases, the most profound improvements are made right in our own backyards. Means, our neighborhoods are often where the most help is needed, and where we can make the biggest difference. So, start connecting more deeply with your neighbors and your neighborhood community programs.
You can get a leg-up on your localized efforts for improvement by utilizing the Nextdoor app. This is a brilliant tool you can download on your phone that connects you with local events, community activities, neighbors in need and so much more. The app also allows you to commit random acts of kindness through their Nextdoor Help Map which shows you which neighbors are in the most need.
Become a Mentor
Former talk show host and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey once said, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” If you think about it, isn’t what the world needs most right now is hope? You can invoke and instill hope in others by becoming a mentor.
Volunteer to be a Big Brother or Sister. Mentor young ones at your local YMCA. Inspire, engage, listen, teach, help and support someone who is less fortunate than you. When you give of yourself and your time to others who genuinely benefit from your knowledge and experience – you make a tremendous impact on improving the future.
One of the most proactive ways to improve your community is to commit to supporting local businesses. Far too often neighborhoods experience collapse due to the loss of “ma and pop” stores which used to be the lifeblood of a community. You can fight the crushing effects of big-box stores by purchasing your daily items or specialty goods from your local shopkeepers.
Also, eat locally as often as possible, and share reviews online after each experience. Tell others about your local shops and eateries to spread the word and strengthen the business for these independent stores or cafes. Doing this can keep small business owners thriving in your community. In turn, this strengthens social bonds in your neighborhood.
Support Sustainable Projects
The tricky thing about becoming a backyard activist is that very often once a good deed is done, that might be the end of the line unless that kindness continues to be paid forward. Therefore, consider investing your time, talent, and skills in sustainable projects.
For instance, you can offer support in a community co-op garden which both feeds the neighborhood and enhances social bonds. Or, you might want to volunteer for sustainable building projects such as Habitat for Humanity, which provides deserving people with homes while also strengthening the community.
The Last Word on Making a Difference
In conclusion, you don’t need a million dollars or be in a position of power in order to make a positive impact on your community. In most cases, it’s the small efforts and the selfless actions that make the biggest difference.
Opt to make kindness an everyday habit, and look after your fellow humans in your neighborhood. Lastly, remember that no matter how seemingly insignificant, even the tiniest action for good really does make a difference.