People like to get involved in the community in all kinds of ways – and sometimes the smallest things we do can make the biggest difference to improve the lives of those around us.
Giving back to your community can be a satisfying and worthwhile experience for everyone. So, if you’re ready to get involved in the community to make a difference, we’ve got you covered. Here are 8 ways you can make a difference in your community.
Remember, even the tiniest changes can make our communities a better place to live.
1. Help out a neighbour
Connecting with your neighbours is a great way to start when you want to make a difference in your community. It’s inspiring how neighbours can come together to offer support, depend on each other when they need help and make a difference in their local communities.
Some things you can do to make a difference in the lives of your neighbours include:
- Checking in on elderly and at-risk neighbours
- Offering to take your neighbour’s pet for a walk
- Starting an inclusive community WhatsApp group
- Helping out with childcare or homework
- Offering a listening ear when they need someone to talk to
2. Give back to the elderly
You might be surprised by how much a short visit could make an elderly person’s day. Elderly people have likely done a lot for the local community but unfortunately, they are often the people who are most overlooked in our communities.
Chatting or reading a book with residents in the local aged care facility is a great way to get involved with senior citizens. You can contact some of the aged care facilities in your area and see if there is someone there who would like a weekly visit.
Some activities you could do on your weekly visit include:
- Having a chat
- Playing cards
- Reading a book
- Going for a leisurely walk
- Watching a movie
- Having lunch together
3. Attend community meetings
While the idea of attending a community meeting might not sound that interesting, it is a great way to become aware of issues in your neighbourhood and develop a real sense of involvement in where you live.
Community meetings allow residents to have their say on local issues that matter to the community. By attending meetings you can improve the quality of life and the wellbeing of those living in your local area.
At a community meeting, you can give your opinion on a wide range of social, environmental and economic issues that are important to your community including housing issues, community facilities, disability issues, events, services and transport.
4. Become an advocate for people with disabilities
As a person with disabilities, you are the best advocate for yourself and others with disabilities in your community. Knowledge is power, so by educating those around you about the challenges faced by disabled people, you can take charge by speaking up for what changes you would like to see in your community.
To live integrated and productive lives, many people with disabilities require special supports and services. By becoming an advocate you can help ensure more resources are available in your local community.
Some common disability advocacy issues include:
- Community-based services
- Promoting access to public transit
- Accessing suitable housing
- Accessing healthcare providers
- Disability rights
5. Volunteering with an organisation
Volunteering is a great way to increase your productivity and make a difference in your community. The best thing is that volunteering is something that everyone can do, even if you have limited mobility.
By choosing a cause that you are passionate about, you can share your skills and experience to make a positive impact in your local community. When considering which organisation to volunteer with, consider the things that interest you. Many people like to volunteer with organisations that deal with community development, social work, business, the arts or humanitarian aid.
If you would like a short-term volunteering commitment, organisations are constantly looking for volunteers for special events and one-off activities such as handing out water at fun runs and collectors for charity fundraising days.
6. Become a mentor
Becoming a mentor is a great way to provide guidance and encouragement to young people in New South Wales. Many mentoring organisations in the area recruit and train volunteer mentors so they can offer support to young people within the safety of the organisation’s program.
To register your interest, visit the NSW Volunteering website and complete the expression of interest form or contact your NDIS Support Coordinator to help you volunteer your time.
Some of the skills a mentor can help with include:
- Increasing confidence
- Life skills development
- Community involvement
- Achieving personal goals
7. Organise a community clean up
If you’re looking for a way to make a difference in your community, organising a neighbourhood clean-up is an amazing way to do just that while also making your community a better place to live.
No matter if you are picking up litter from near your home or organising a community clean up for the entire area, every piece of litter picked up makes a difference to your community.
Organising a community clean up is reliant on volunteers so begin recruiting people early to make sure you have enough support on the day. You can start by telling family, neighbours, friends, community members, social media groups and other local organisations about your event.
Community clean up projects come in many forms and can include:
- Trash collection
- Painting projects
- Flower planting
- River clean ups
- Recreational area restoration
8. Give back to those who help you
As a person with disabilities, you may occasionally need help from friends and family. While it’s always good to ask for help when you need it, it can still feel good to give back to those you care about to show how much you appreciate their support.
Showing someone that you appreciate them being in your life doesn’t necessarily mean buying them expensive gifts. When it comes to giving back to those who help you, you should never underestimate the power of a hug, a smile, an honest compliment or the smallest act of kindness.
If you’re feeling creative you could also bake them some cookies or write a thank you note, all of which have the potential to make your loved ones feel valued.