Be a part of something bigger than yourself – be a part of your community!  Community means something different to each individual.   To me community is about volunteering, remembering to vote, helping your neighbor, supporting each other and more…

I was encouraged to volunteer at an early age.  My mother, a stay at home mom, volunteered for the American Red Cross for over 25 years.   Additionally, she ran a Y Mothers Program at the YWCA and played in the church bell choir.   She gave freely of her time to help and support her community.

My first volunteer position was in junior high when I worked as a candy striper at the local hospital in the geriatric wing.   My job was simple – provide companionship, fresh water, deliver mail and generally help out where needed.   Then in high school, I volunteered one summer at a Head Start Nursery for low income children and later I took photographs of adoptable animals at the local SPCA for publication.   My volunteer work was rewarding – it helped the community and made me feel good about myself.

As an adult, I became busy with children and a career.  But I still tried to help when I could – by donating surplus items to charity, volunteering occasionally and making a meaningful charitable contribution to non-profits as funds allowed.   

Being neighborly is also a part of being community minded.   Talk to your neighbors – welcome the new ones and get to know the others.   Several years ago, we had a neighbor contact us about our rescue dog barking.   Apparently, when we were not home, she went out through the doggy door and barked a lot.  We had no idea how bad it was and the neighbors suffered silently until one day they could not take it anymore and told us.   We thanked them for letting us know, apologized and immediately worked on a solution.   We wanted to be respectful of our neighbors and were sorry they had not mentioned it sooner.  We felt awful!  So, get to know your neighbors to open the lines of communication.  Also, help them when you can – shoveling a driveway, offering to water plants when they are gone or simply saying hello go a long way in helping people feel a community connection.  

Voting is critical in our society and greatly benefits the community.   It is our civic duty to keep informed on upcoming election items and to always vote.  Our voice can have an impact on our local, national and even global communities.  “Think globally, act locally” is one of my mantras!

The environment is an important community matter that we can no longer ignore.   We all want fresh water, food free of contaminants and clean air to breath.  Recycling programs, reducing our carbon footprint and getting back to healthier/cleaner living all require your help and participation.   I care about future generations to come and would like to leave the earth in a sustainable place.   The time clock is ticking and we must all work together towards solutions – our community is depending on us!

As women, we are part of our own special community.  Women supporting women in the work place, in home life and in friendship is essential to our ability to thrive.  We are always stronger together – so reach out to someone today.

Connecting with our community through support, engagement, contributions and your time reap incredible benefits for everyone including you!  Let’s go back to days gone by where we talk to our neighbors, make time to volunteer, support charities and always vote – by doing so you will have made our world just a little bit better!

Nancy Hill
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