“If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”
They say that there is no better joy than helping those in need and making the world a better place, one step at a time. We couldn’t agree more! Nothing compares to that feeling you get when your heart is whole and warm, seeing that you are responsible for putting a smile on someone’s otherwise difficult life or making the world a more suitable place for all living creatures to live in. And, yes, like Joey Tribianni said in Friends’ Season 5 Episode 5, there just may not be selfless good deeds. Well, not intentional ones anyways. However, we still see that it’s better to take a step than not at all. It’s better to be an action-taker than someone who sits on a chair and complains about everything wrong with the world.
So, if you have a passion, drive, and dedication to stand up for the underdogs in your community or be a part of something great, there are many causes you could join. How?
Enter community engagement.
Now, what exactly is community engagement?
As the name suggests, community engagement is when you volunteer, get involved or participate in a cause with a mission to work for the betterment of the community.
Wikipedia describes the characteristics of community engagement as “volunteer actions, which involves giving personal time to projects in humanitarian NGOs or religious groups, are forms of community involvement. The engagement is generally motivated by values and ideals of social justice Community engagement can be volunteering at food banks, homeless shelters, emergency assistance programs, neighborhood cleanup programs, etc.”
Here are some of the reasons why your participation in community engagement matters:
1. The more, the merrier
Be it a political or community campaign, the more people involved, the higher the chance of the mission’s success.
2. You have a sense of ownership.
As part of the team, you will have the opportunities to give suggestions, pitch in your ideas, and make informed decisions accordingly. This will provide you with a sense of ownership and be more appreciative and dedicated towards the cause.
3. You and your opinion matter and deserves to be heard.
The majority of the people depend on their leaders to oversee the betterment of the community. As such, they tend to keep their opinion to themselves or their circles. If you feel that your views should be put into action, join the cause, speak up, and be heard.
4. You bring something different to the table.
Moreover, the more diverse the opinions that different people bring to the table, the more information will the community leaders have to make the right changes or no change at all.
5. It helps you to upskill
Be it soft or challenging skills; organizations are always on the lookout for people with various talents. Utilizing your craft will help you in enhancing them.
5. It looks good on your resume.
It doesn’t hurt to add extracurricular activities such as community engagement to your resume. It shows the recruiters and hiring managers that you are a hard-working and dedicated person.
One can also advance his knowledge and gain vital skills to advance in your career by pursuing a masters in community development.
Types of Community Engagement
Now, let’s get on to the topic at hand.
Here are the different forms of community engagement (Center for Career and Community Engagement):
- Direct Service: This includes feeding the hungry by serving food, providing shelter to the homeless, cleaning community and parks, helping animals, repairing homes, among others
- Community Research: This form of community engagement where you do thorough research about the assets and needs of the community by exploring and setting up measures and goals for the community.
- Advocacy and Education: This is to raise awareness by organizing marches, petitions, writing letters to the government or leaders. The content they share and voice out helps in educating the community about the cause and mission. Students are also educated.
- Capacity Building: This includes collaborating with different community constituencies to solve problems by building on existing assets. It also involves creating a safe space for people to speak their opinions and thoughts.
- Socially Responsible Personal and Professional Behavior: This is when you use your skillset – soft and hard skills – for the community’s welfare. Professional training and skills such as IT skills can be used to better the community when making personal or professional decisions. This form of social engagement may also include recycling, not using plastic materials, driving environmentally friendly cars, etc.
- Philanthropic Giving: You can also do your part by funding or donating food, reusable items such as clothes and toys, and other basic needs. If you want to go big, you could also organize fundraising events.
- Participation in Associations: You can also join associations that hold the same values and beliefs as yours, such as school boards, parents-teachers associations, church choirs, and sports teams, among many others.
We hope this article helps you get even just a bit about community engagement and its importance and forms.
So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the different forms of community engagement along with its impotence. There is no good time like the present to give back to those in need.
We will leave you here with our best wishes and hope to find you’re calling through some of these selfless organizations. As long as you have the passion, dedication, and compassion, you are on the right path to making your community and the world a better place.
“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do whatever I can for it. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.” – George Bernard Shaw