What do your school, your family, your neighborhood and your town all have in common? These are your communities. They are groups you belong to, that you are an integral part of. Even if you don’t participate much in any of them, they are still your communities.
Think about each one. What do they look like? Feel like? Do you think they “work?” Are they safe? Interesting? Friendly? What’s good about each one? What could be improved?
Consider the things that are good. Who is responsible for the good things? And the things that need to be improved – who is responsible for those and whose responsibility is it to bring about the improvements? Do you have any responsibilities? Have you contributed
to the good aspects? Can you help with the improvements?
We often look to a few leaders to improve our communities, and unfortunately, we also blame those same people for anything that needs to be changed. But a community needs everyone’s involvement to become great.
It’s easy to blame the principal or teachers if there are problems at your school. Many people blame the mayor and/or city council members for anything that goes wrong in a city or town. But it’s important to take ownership of your community, to step up and volunteer to add to the good or work on the bad – to put the YOU in community.
How can you do that? Get involved. Volunteer. Give feedback. Talk to others in your community. Work to bring about change. Ask how you can help. Participate in programs.
Spend time each day reading through your newspaper. Pay attention to what the articles are saying about communities. How do you feel about what you’re reading? Are there good things happening? Are there problems? Now, speak up! Choose a community issue that interests you and find out all you can about the details, the history, the people involved. Write a letter to the editor outlining your opinion, thoughts and solutions.
For several days, read the letters to the editor. Often this section of the paper becomes a conversation between opposing sides of a community issue. Go through each letter and decide if you agree or disagree with the letter. Maybe you don’t have enough information to make that decision. That’s okay, too.