Ask Mr. Manners

Get active

With the cold of winter, a thing of the past, everyone seems a little more relaxed as we look forward to the summer months. For most people, it’s the start of a little less work and a little more fun. But while most of us are vacationing or relaxing at the pool, let me give you a little something to think about.

What if you took just a few hours of those summer vacation hours to volunteer in your local community? What if a few hours of your time could really make a difference in your life and those around you? Think about it.

There are dozens of reasons why getting involved in your community is important but I will sum it up to this: it’s good for you and it’s really good for those around you. And since most people agree but have no idea where to start, here’s a jump start and some ideas on how to get involved in your local community.

While the idea of attending a community meeting might sound about as entertaining as a dentist appointment, they can actually be extremely beneficial. You meet people who live around you, which comes in handy if you’re one of the many people who complain that your friends live too far away to hang out on a regular basis. Moreover, you really become familiar with what’s happening in your neighborhood and more than likely, you’ll gain a real sense of ownership of where you live. The more this happens, the better!

Picking up trash might not sound too appealing, but there are hundreds of parks and playgrounds around that could use some attention. Often times starting or joining a clean-up project can really transform a neighborhood, especially if you’re creating a place for people to gather. If you have a place in mind, make sure you reach out to the administrator before you make any changes. If you want some ideas, call the local Utah parks department for locations that could use your help.

If you’re complaining that there’s “not a (insert your favorite thing) in my area,” take the initiative and start one yourself. There are probably at least a few others thinking the same thing. Whether it’s a sports team or interest group (like a book club or crafting night), your neighbors will appreciate someone stepping up and taking leadership of the group.

Spend some time perusing various social media outlets to see if there are any local pages/groups and see if anything similar exists. If not, go for it! And even if you do find an existing group, that just means you get to join a broader organization and expand your network – it’s a win either way!

Getting involved in your community isn’t hard and with a little time, you can make a big difference. And the best part? Volunteering is addicting and contagious, so once you start, you will probably want to keep doing it…and so will those around you! So, this summer go forth spreading some cheer, we can all use some happiness.

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