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The Power of Civic Engagement

· Civic Engagement,Politics,Desiree Bell

Civic engagement describes contributions to the public good regardless of person, background, and political party. No matter which party you choose to affiliate yourself with, being an active participant in today’s society is crucial for everyone. Civic engagement brings out the good in everyone by encouraging conversation, understanding, and diversity. In this day and age, it’s easy to remain polarized and inactive, rarely encountering people with different backgrounds, values, and viewpoints than the ones you may hold.

The term civic engagement is broad, and covers a variety of activities. Most of the time we hear it used in the context of voting, but it is so much more than that. What does it mean to you? Your family? Your community? The following are a few ways to participate in civil engagement and harness its power for the good of your community.

Volunteering

One of the best ways to participate in civic engagement is to volunteer. No matter your skill set or amount of time you can contribute, there are opportunities for you! You might choose to spend an evening a week volunteering, or donate your time to occasional events. Regardless of what you choose, you’ll be contributing your time and effort towards making a difference in your community. Not only will this benefit others, but you’ll also feel a sense of purpose and connection to your home. Volunteering is also a great way to make friends and come in contact with people you might not otherwise meet.

Joining Group Activities 

Membership in formal and informal groups increases social capital and decreases feelings of loneliness or isolation. Joining a local interest group can help improve physical and mental health by providing a sense of emotional support and create a feeling of community.

In addition to supporting the health of their members, many groups also have goals that directly impact their community at large, too. For example, some groups may donate or sponsor local charities, or offer fundraising opportunities. Others may encourage their members to volunteer with other local charities.

Community Projects

Community projects are another method of working with those in your area to support everyone. One excellent example of such a project is a community garden. People work together to care for the garden and everyone can enjoy the fruits and vegetables it produces. These gardens provide access to healthy foods for people who may not otherwise be able to purchase them. Caring for and beautifying the garden also encourages a sense of pride in your community.

Civic engagement is more than voting. No matter which political party you consider yourself a part of, you can still work together with others to make your community a better place. Get involved!

This article was originally published at DesireePeterkinBell.org.

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