Building a Strong Community: The Importance of Contributing to Your Local Area

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget the importance of community. With technology allowing us to connect with people from all over the world, it’s easy to overlook the value of the people who live right next door. However, the truth is that building up your local community is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and for those around you. In this post, we’ll explore the many ways that contributing to your local community can benefit both you and your neighbors.

First and foremost, contributing to your local community is a great way to meet new people and make friends. Whether you’re new to the area or you’ve lived there for years, volunteering your time and skills can help you connect with others who share your interests and values. This can be especially important for those who work from home or have limited social opportunities. By getting involved in local events and organizations, you can build a support system that can enrich your life and help you feel more connected to the world around you.

Contributing to your local community can also have a positive impact on your mental health. Studies have shown that helping others can increase feelings of happiness and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. When you contribute to your community, you’re not just doing something good for others—you’re also doing something good for yourself. By giving back to your community, you can experience a sense of purpose and fulfillment that can be difficult to find in other areas of life.

Another important benefit of contributing to your local community is the positive impact it can have on your neighborhood. When you volunteer your time and resources to local organizations and events, you’re helping to create a more vibrant and welcoming community for everyone. This can attract new residents and businesses, which can help to improve the local economy and create more job opportunities for those who live in the area. Additionally, a strong local community can help to reduce crime and other social problems by fostering a sense of belonging and responsibility among residents.

There are many ways to contribute to your local community, regardless of your age, background, or skill set. For example, you might consider volunteering your time at a local food bank or soup kitchen, tutoring children at a nearby school, or organizing a neighborhood cleanup event. If you’re an artist, musician, or writer, you might consider sharing your talents with others by hosting workshops or performances in your community. If you have a green thumb, you might consider starting a community garden or helping to maintain a public park. The possibilities are endless, and the impact you can have on your community is only limited by your imagination.

Of course, contributing to your local community isn’t just about volunteering your time and skills. It’s also about being an active and engaged member of your community in other ways. For example, you might make an effort to shop at local businesses instead of big-box stores, attend community events and festivals, or simply say hello to your neighbors when you see them outside. By being present and involved in your community, you can help to create a sense of belonging and connection that can benefit everyone who lives there.

One of the most important things to remember when contributing to your local community is that even small actions can make a big difference. Whether you’re volunteering your time or simply saying hello to your neighbors, every positive interaction you have can help to create a more welcoming and supportive community. Additionally, by setting an example for others, you can inspire those around you to get involved and make a difference in their own way.

In conclusion, contributing to your local community is an important and rewarding way to make a positive impact on the world around you. By volunteering your time and resources, being an active member of your community, and setting an example for others, you can help to create a more vibrant, welcoming, and supportive place for everyone who lives in it!

A great place to start this is by heading over to Youtopia, create an account for free, start a group for a cause and invite as many people you know who may be interested in helping, and have them do the same. The more like-minded people we have on board, the more likely we are to succeed.

Activism Fatigue is Real but We Can Fight It Together

Bringing positive change to our communities is a noble goal but can be overwhelming. Don’t give up! You are not alone.

In this article, we explore how activists find the encouragement, wisdom, and hope to not stand idly by.

When I was in sixth grade, some of the boys in my class started scratching swastikas into the desks.  We had a long-term substitute at the time, Mrs. A, and even after 30 years of teaching, I am impressed by the wisdom of her response. Realizing the boys were acting in ignorance, she canceled all lessons the following day and taught us about the Holocaust.  During this lesson, the phrase “Don’t stand idly by” lodged in my brain and became a guiding principle in my life.  It’s why I marched with the United Farmworkers, joined the Alliance for Survival to stop the arms race, and today write letters to my representatives, attend BLM rallies, and go to every women’s march.  My children have a “My First Protest” page in their baby books.  

I am not virtual signaling here.  I am confessing.  

The last five years have so worn me down that I have almost given up.  Almost.  Because I know I cannot stand idly by, no matter the fatigue of seeing our country divided so deeply and our democratic institutions threatened in the service of politicians’ egos.   

I am not alone.  

We’ve worked hard to make a difference.  We’ve gone to protests, donated, written postcards, contacted our representatives and senators, had heated discussions, engaged in workshops, changed our habits, gotten out the vote…but now, we find ourselves wondering if any of it mattered and echoing the sentiments of Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles–I’m so tired!  We’ve done all this work for change during a pandemic, which has disrupted many of our support systems and community connections.  Activism fatigue is real, and we need to help each other when it hits.

I think the first step is to acknowledge that don’t-stand-idly-by-fatigue is real.  I hope this blog will provide us with a place to admit our fatigue, get support, and offer our own solutions.  

In search of my own answers, I happened upon an article in that asked 11 women activists how they handle their activism fatigue.  It’s a great article, and I encourage you to read it, but here are a few ideas that stood out for me.

Find support. Real support.  As Becca Tieder, cofounder or Sexversations and founder of One Student states:  “You need a crew with whom you can drop your armor and say, ‘This is hard.’” When we give advice, are dismissive, or get a little preachy with someone struggling, we make things worse.  It can cause people to burn out and drop out altogether.  If instead we listen and empathize, we can be the soul-balm that can help someone keep going.  Let us embrace our friends and co-activists when they are vulnerable and let them know that we are there for them, that it’s okay for them to take a breather, that self-care is not only okay but essential.  Who can you count on for support?   How do you give support to others?                                                             

Take care of yourself.                                                                                                                Carmen Perez, director of Gathering for Justice, shared:  “To stay energized and engaged, I drink a lot of water, I practice gratitude by listing three things I’m grateful for in the morning, I work out and eat healthy, watch comedies, send myself positive affirmations, and surround myself with people I love and admire. And when I’m feeling discouraged, I pray—a lot and for everybody.”  Personally, I go to meditation, therapy, and no phones or news after 8 pm.  Also, journaling gives me a place to dump all those negative thoughts as well as to remember the good moments with gratitude.  Lucy McBath, a stricter gun laws advocate, adds:  “I remember that this movement is going to go on whether I take a little break right now or not. You have to give yourself a chance to breathe, to do the things you used to do before you took up this cause. It’s important to have a balance. We have to give ourselves permission to say, “Today I don’t have to be an activist.”  How do you take care of yourself?

Remember the power of one.                                                                                               One person can make a difference.  We know the stories of Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall, Cesar Chavez, Gretta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, and others who changed or are changing the world today.  But we don’t have to be famous to make a difference.  In fact, these change-makers were just ordinary people who saw something wrong and decided they could not stand idly by.  They took a first step and then another.  Doors opened.  People joined them.  They created movements.  We can be inspired by their stories. We can find ordinary people in our own cities who are making positive change happen.  Maybe we cannot dedicate our whole lives, but we can do what we can. Baby steps matter. Right now, I write postcards for voting, go to local protests, and donate.  I’m coming out of a period of fatigue,  and I’m taking things one action at a time.

Are you experiencing activism fatigue and need someone to listen?  Share your story here in the comments.  How do you take care of yourself?  What keeps you going?  Let’s support and inspire each other as we work to make the world a better place.

Helping Others In Need

Life can be pretty chaotic at times and especially during the school season. Helping others in need can seem like an overwhelming task to add to the already long to-do list. Do you know there are various ways to help others? I will tell you it is easier than you think.

Typically people think there are two ways to help others in need. The first involves the death or loss of another person or pet. The second involves homelessness due to any number of circumstances. These are incredible ways to help others who need assistance or comfort. Let’s dive into a few other ways we can deliver and engage in helping others.

Volunteer Your Time

Time is precious and can feel elusive when our schedules fill up. It is one of the things that can be manipulated with a little effort. Carving out even one hour to volunteer can make a huge impact on someone's life. Time equals connection. Being present and connecting with others is at a core level what the majority needs. Here are a few examples of places you can volunteer:

Community Center - Often with various ways you can chip in. Such as working with kids and teens, local special events that need help setting up, fundraisers, and holiday events.

Senior Facility - Elderly folks regularly need help getting around or to Dr. appointments. They also enjoy just having someone to listen to the stories they have to tell and the life lessons that come along with them.

VFW - Short for Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Veterans Affairs is a great way to help others that have given so much to all of us. Recreation, Transportation, Personal assistance, and Companionship just scratch the surface of volunteer opportunities.

ME TOO - The Me Too movement helps survivors of sexual violence to heal. Volunteer opportunities are available globally.

LGBTQIA+ - Organizations like HRC (Human Rights Campaign), PFLAG (Parents Friends & Family of Lesbians and Gays), GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) are great options. Do a quick search to see what is available in your local community.

This is just the tip of the iceberg to get you started thinking about the infinite ways you can help others in need. A quick search of the interwebs can lead you in every niche group's direction for you to help those in your community that need you. Volunteering your time, even if it is only one or two hours a week, can make a big impact on someone’s life.

Let’s Get Physical

It is safe to say a lot of us need to get physical. Working remotely has become the new norm and that leads to more sitting and less activity. The hardest part of getting back into the routine of moving our bodies is getting started. I don’t know about you but I have several of those friends who are absolute health nuts. They work out every single day, always post healthy recipes on social media, and find all the things to throw together for that smoothie or juice to drool over.

Insert the people that need help getting on that physical train and staying on course long enough to see some results to be motivated to make it a lifelong habit. Maybe this is your zone of genius. If it is, I am sure you know some friends or family that have mentioned how hard it is for them and how much they want to change that.

Be mindful and very intentional with the language you use when approaching someone about getting healthier and getting back to moving our bodies. Helping people in this area will always be something that is needed.

It can be as simple as sharing a workout tip you saw on Instagram from that good-looking trainer you follow. Maybe you discovered a new pre-workout supplement that you know your squad would like as much as you do. Did you find a new Bootcamp group while walking laps at the park? Help someone get as motivated as you are to get physical.

Inspire Others

Who doesn’t want to feel inspired? I know a lot of people that are finding ways to get re-inspired to keep doing what they love or are good at, myself included. Others are still trying to figure out what their area of expertise is or where their passions lie.

Helping people in need can also come in the form of inspiration. When you get inspired you get motivated, and when you get motivated it leads you to take inspired action. Action creates change and change leads to expansion. That my friends are where growth happens. Growth changes everything.

Inspiring others is not only easy but it feels really good when you see someone else succeed. The cool thing is inspiration comes from literally any and everywhere. The new personal development book you are reading stirs your soul. A social media influencer you found via multiple other accounts that post real talk conversation lives daily. Perhaps you just connected with a mentor or sponsor and their story resonates on a deep level personally and you are feeling inspired to share more of your own story.

I hope that maybe this inspires you in some way to reach out and help someone who needs it. There are so many possibilities with minimal expense to you as the helper and infinite impacts to the person receiving your help. There is no right or wrong way to help others in need. It is something you can fit into your schedule, no matter how hectic or full the calendar gets. Doing it virtually works too and brings even more opportunities for you to choose what you feel called to.

Start with a small task if you need to because even the little things can bring on big differences for people in need. Help is always needed if you slow down long enough to look and truly see those in and around your life. Even taking stock of the communities and groups you engage with online. How can you help others in need?

Moving Kindness Forward

Have you ever completed a Pay it Forward gesture? One of the most popular gestures being to buy the person behind you coffee. Ever so often you see this pop up on social media being shared again and again. A seemingly small act can completely change someone’s day. It requires minimum effort but the impact can reach farther than we may see at the moment.

The cool thing about Pay it Forward is there are infinite ways it can be done. Let’s break it down just a bit in case you are new to the idea of Paying it Forward. It is the act in which a person or group performs a kind act for someone else without expecting payment of any kind in return. The receiver then goes on to do a kind act for someone else instead of repaying the kind deed they received.

Much like the ripple effect in a pond, toss a pebble and watch the ripple keep going creating more ripples. Paying it Forward often leads to more kind gestures then rippling out in ways we often don’t see.

Here are some examples of simple ways you can Pay it Forward:

Compliment someone – This could be anything from jewelry, haircut, shoes, outfit, or a recent accomplishment or activity.
Buy coffee/food – Easy to do at a drive-thru, restaurant, grocery store, but possible anywhere food or beverages are sold.
Mentoring – At some point we all need help in one area of life or another. Offer up some of your expertise or just be a listening ear someone needs.
Positive text – Reach out to a few friends or family members to share a positive text or inspirational quote to brighten their day.
Tip big – If you can, leave a generous tip for your server or driver.
Share your skill – If you have a special skill, trade, or that thing you sell, share or offer it up for free. You can set limits to this as in how many people you share with or for a set amount of time.

Gaining a sense of happiness knowing you made a positive impact.

Happiness is a quintessential key to living a fulfilled life. When you Pay it Forward often you can see an immediate positive response you have created for the other person. Giving you a sense of happiness and releasing the natural dopamine kick. Dopamine being the chemical messenger that relates to feelings of pleasure. Making an impact albeit small or not can change the whole course of someone’s day. We never know what someone is dealing with, where they are coming from, or things going on in their world. The act of kindness that goes into Paying it Forward can be so simple yet it can make such a massive difference for the receiver, and the giver too.

Let’s say you share a skill you learned years ago when you became an entrepreneur, maybe even partly because a mentor shared some of it with you once upon a time ago. There is this kid probably in their mid to late twenties and you can see the very same spark you had when you first got started. So you decide to Pay if Forward by sharing a piece of your secret sauce that ended up saving you so much time, effort and probably money. It reignites the spark you feel you have long lost and makes you feel passionate again about your business.

That’s when it happens. You see the lightbulb go off in their mind then the smile and sigh of relief. A sense of joy washes over you because you have undoubtedly made this kid’s life easier and they seem more determined. These moments stick with us for years to come. These are the things we don’t forget and feel compelled to do the same when we get in a position to Pay it Forward to the next generation.

Connecting leads to expansion by brushing up on interpersonal skills.

Paying it Forward even by complimenting someone or buying their coffee helps us grow by utilizing our interpersonal skills. Actually connecting with someone by making eye contact and talking to them to let them know we want to do this nice thing can be expansive. There are so many things we get from in person interactions than we get from those of a virtual nature. Like picking up on verbal cues such as tone and inflection, eye contact, body language, as well as the energetic exchange.

So on top of doing a good deed you’re getting the benefits that come along with forming a connection. The fact that this can help you get more comfortable with communication. Which in turn can help you in professional, personal, and social settings. Learning healthy ways to communicate effectivly can make it easier for you to be able to express yourself. By expressing things you may need someone to accomplish at work, things you want from your spouse or children, and socially appropriate things in any environment. All of these things can cultivate from a simple engagement another person if you set the right intention and pay attention.

Pay it Forward

Take some time and think about a few simple ways you may be able to Pay it Forward in your own life settings. Kindness can feel effortless and energizing when you figure out a way that you can help someone that could use a little boost. Perhaps try paying someone a compliment the next time you are at the store or out to brunch. Take notice of the person’s response or their reaction. Also pay attention to how you feel afterwards and make notes of it in your phone if you need to remember that feeling later.

These random acts of kindness can completely make someone’s day and shift the energy in them as well as in you. After all, the world could use a little more light in this stressful season.

Let us know in the comments below how you intend to Pay it Forward or your story if you practice this already.

The Importance of Community and Unity

If we could harness the power behind community and unity, there would never be a scarcity of energy.



What comes to mind when you think of community?

When you first think about community, your neighborhood may come to mind. Or the people of the city where you live. But when you take a step back and really think about the big picture - community is so much more.

The sense of community is a powerful source of comfort and unity in our lives. It's where people with similar values and passions collide for the greater good. Having a sense of community reaches far beyond your physical community.

Yes, your neighbors are an essential totem of your community. But consider all the other areas in your life that offer a sense of security and safety.

Other places or groups of people where can you find community:

  • Your family
  • Your friends
  • The entire network of connections you’ve made throughout your life
  • Your workplace
  • The sports team you support and all their fans
  • Local businesses
  • Your fellow citizens
  • The people who share your love of art or whatever hobby you’re into.

Community is important because it offers a safe haven where everyone feels welcome. It’s where you feel appreciated. It’s where you are a part of something bigger than yourself. It’s where you can find and offer support.

No matter the size, a community offers opportunities for growth and acceptance.

Having a strong sense of community is beneficial for anyone and everyone. It brings people together, builds healthy relationships, and fosters a sense of belonging.

Being a part of a community strengthens bonds between each other as they work towards a common goal. For the most part, that goal is to make the world a better place. These connections blossom into valued relationships that deepen our sense of belonging.

When we come together as a community, we flourish and expand our security net of love and acceptance. When you take the time to lift up the people around you, a chain reaction of kindness starts.

It’s like a ripple effect of positivity that the world needs now more than ever.

Community and Unity Go Hand-in-hand

We’ve all heard the saying, “United We Stand.” This phrase dates back to thousands of years ago. It was modernly coined by John Dickinson, one of America’s founding fathers. The little word ‘unity’ packs a powerful punch.

Unity is a word that describes togetherness. It naturally ties into community, which is all about coming together for the greater good. If we as a human race want to maximize our potential to make a positive change, it's vital to unite. But it’s not enough to want to change. You have to be the change.

“It is not in numbers but in unity that our great strength lies” – Thomas Paine

This is where community and unity form such an empowering combo. When we join forces with our brothers and sisters in the common good, wonderful things can happen.

If you’ve ever read the book (or watched the movie) Into the Wild, you learned a profound life lesson. Christopher McCandless dropped a major revelation: Happiness is only real when shared.

It was in his last moments of solitude when he came to this conclusion. Think of a time when you were on a solo trip or by yourself and witnessed something astounding. It could be as simple as the time when you saw a dramatic, full moon rising on a walk. Or when you noticed an act of kindness by happenchance.

Don’t you wish you could have turned to someone to share that special moment with? When you experience times like these with someone else, your happiness amplifies.

This is not to discredit the magical moments you experience on your own. Any time you experience joy and live in the now, you are channeling positive source energy. Cherish those special times. The lessons you pick up can also resonate with others. They can lift someone else's spirits and continue to expand that happy ripple.

How fun would it be to share your inspirational stories, positive insights, and to express gratitude to a community that would appreciate it? A community where everyone is fueled by everyone else’s dedication to positive change?

You can start by simply living a positive life full of gratitude and respect. The more you spread love, the more love you will attract to your community.

That said, it’s not easy to maintain a positive mindset when there’s so much negativity on the news and social media. We need more outlets that foster encouragement and empathy. Platforms like Youtopia point society in the right direction.

Youtopia is a new social media platform that focuses on being a positive source for change. Members can share motivating stories and ideas with an audience craving positivity. It’s a place to escape the negativity and build a community of love and support. It’s on a mission to facilitate positive change and create an environment of peace and unity.

It’s human nature to want to fit it in and be a part of a community. When you band together to spread a kind message, the world can change for the better.

When you move through life with kindness, you’ll attract others that have the same mentality. Friendships will grow and evolve into a community. A community that promotes unity and positive change in the world.

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