Hug Your Community – Making a Difference
So, it seems slowly but surely, we are returning to ‘normal’ after Covid-19. Or rather the ‘new normal’ as our lives will never be quite the same after its devastating consequences. But as we are readily getting back to ourselves and hugging our friends and families, what of our community? It is true that some of us got to know our neighbours as never before and others took to the streets to ensure our community was kept safe, fed and well. But what now? Is it time to step back or time to keep going? There were some personal sacrifices and heart-warming initiatives that made a real difference when it mattered. But surely it still matters – there are those who will need your ‘hug’ now more than ever.
There is no denying that volunteering your time to support your community is something you will never regret. Morning TV interviews alone can attest to the fact that it enriches not only other’s but your life. Connecting with those who need support and like-minded people, positively impacts your world view. As you familiarise yourself with your community, you will come across people and ideas that will help you to grow as a person and better understand how you fit into the world around you. Helping your community is that opportunity to gain a unique sense of purpose. Some of us take years trying to find our place in the world but clearly looking to our community can help get to that realisation a little bit sooner.
Giving your time, energy and initiative is a great way to get to know your community both as a whole and its individuals. When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to meet lots of new people. Working alongside individuals who also care about improving their surroundings will allow you to broaden your network. Additionally, it will help you to better understand the circumstances of other members of your community. Having a broad, open-minded perspective of the different walks of life around you builds your emotional intelligence as you practice empathy.
An outcome that is sometimes hidden and undervalued is that, without volunteers, many of the services and events we enjoy in our community would not be so readily available. Spending time helping out at local shelters or food banks provides an important service. Giving back to the place you call home helps to unite the community and bridge some of those social, economic and political gaps.
The personal outcome of serving those around you, manifests positively in other areas of your life. Dedicating time to help others, teaches you patience, kindness, and resilience. Not only will you improve your communication abilities by working alongside a diverse group of people, but you will also gain a myriad of experiences that will give you skills that can help you as you navigate your future. Volunteering may even help you discover a new passion or interest.
So, now you are convinced of the benefits of the mental health, social and professional perks of giving back, where can you start? Check out sites like Volunteermatch.org and Team London Volunteering. They’ll help you find fun and collaborative ways to get you and your family (or friends or colleagues) actively involved in community efforts. If committing to set blocks of time isn’t feasible, you can also offer to make a virtual difference such as remotely designing flyers or helping with website maintenance.
Finally, its not all about organised efforts. This may sound trivial, but random acts of kindness are equally as valid. Whether you buy the person behind you a coffee or compliment a total stranger, kindness is contagious. You never know what someone is going through – and you just may be the best part of their day. So, smile at someone. Also, leaving kind comments on blogs and social media goes further than you think. Instead of just liking a video or article, take a moment to leave a genuine comment for the person who created it. With all the negativity and trolling that goes on online, you have no idea much good it can do - random acts of kindness rarely go unnoticed.
If you would like to volunteer with T4H, we are always on the look out for volunteers to work with us for an hour a week or more. Sometimes we have weekly work and sometimes it is more about helping out at events. If you have skills in IT, admin, marketing, design. data cleaning, google forms, diary management and/or social media we'd love to hear from you. Please email your CV/skills to info@T4H.org.uk .
Find an option that best fit into your schedule and try your hardest to be proactive.
Go Hug your Community!
PS. Learn more about how important Hugging is, with this book!