A new year has begun and as I continue to reflect on the past 12 months and look forward to the next, I remember some of my fondest memories from our own local community events here in Northwest Ohio (see some snippets of our adventures below). Canal Days, the Harvest Festival, Steam on the Quad, theater shows, parades, the Fair, library events, farmer’s markets, park visits, and so much more. Being immersed in my local community is something I take great pride in and enjoy encouraging others to do as well. So, I wanted to give a few ideas and resources for how you can get involved in your community this year.
Why Involvement in Your Community is Beneficial
Why would you want to get involved in your community anyway? Well, if you’ve been feeling a little “off” the last couple of years, putting yourself out there might be just the thing you need. There are many known benefits to immersing yourself in local community events. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Building connections: By participating in community events and activities, you can build relationships with people who share your interests and values.
- Improving your community: By volunteering your time and skills, you can help make our community a better place to live for yourself and others.
- Personal growth: Being involved in the community can help you develop new skills and gain valuable experience.
- Giving back: By giving back to your community, you can feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
- Promoting social cohesion and preventing isolation: Being connected with your neighborhood can have a positive impact on physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
- Access to resources and information: Joining community groups and organizations can provide access to resources and information that may not be readily available elsewhere.
- Making a difference: When people work together, they can accomplish more than they can alone. Being involved in your community can give you the chance to make a real difference in the lives of others.
Here are a few snippets of my family enjoying local community events this past year.
6 Creative Ways to Get Involved in Your Community
If you’re convinced that you want to participate a bit more in your community this year, but are not sure where to start, here are my top suggestions.
- VOLUNTEER: One of the easiest and most impactful ways to get involved in your community is to volunteer. There are many organizations and groups that rely on volunteers to carry out their mission. For example, you could volunteer at a local food bank, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter. You could also find organizations that align with your interests, such as environmental groups, animal shelters, or arts and cultural organizations.
Here are a few resources if you live in the Northwest Ohio region. I’m native to Delphos, Ohio, and attend events in Van Wert often. If you have additional resources for the Northwest, Ohio area, send them to me and I would be happy to add to these lists!
Resources: United Way of Van Wert, Van Wert 4-H Volunteers, Meals on wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Van Wert Humane Society
- GET INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY EVENTS: This is my favorite way to get involved in the community is to participate in community events. This could include attending festivals, fairs, or parades. You could also organize or participate in community clean-up events, charity runs, or neighborhood fundraisers. These events can be a great way to meet people and make a positive impact on your community.
Resources: Delphos Community Calendar, Delphos Kiwanas club, Delphos Festivals, Visit Van Wert, Van Wert County Fairgrounds, Van Wert Things to Do Facebook Page, Van Wert Live Events, Visit Greater Lima, Allen County Fair, Putnam County Fair, Paulding Events,
- PARTICIPATE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT: A third way to get involved in your community is to participate in local government. This could include attending city council meetings, serving on a board or commission, or running for office. By participating in local government, you can have a direct impact on the policies and decisions that shape your community.
Resources: Delphos City Council, Van Wert City Council, Lima City Council, Paulding Village Council, Ottawa Village Council
- ORGANIZE A COMMUNITY GARDEN: I have a couple of small garden beds at my home, and my kids love helping tend to the garden and eating fresh tomatoes and snap peas throughout the summer months. Organizing a community garden is a great way to bring people together and improve the local environment. You can work with a group of volunteers to clear an area of land, build raised beds, and plant a variety of fruits and vegetables. Not only will the garden produce fresh food for the community, but it can also provide a shared space for people to come together and connect.
- START A NEIGHBORHOOD BOOK CLUB: Not that I have a ton of extra time to read during this season of life, but I do enjoy it! Starting a neighborhood book club is a great way to bring people together and foster a love of reading. You could organize meetings at a local library or coffee shop, and choose books that align with a certain theme or that represent the diversity of the community. It can also be a great way to introduce people to different perspectives and cultures.
- START A COMMUNITY PODCAST: Fun fact, but I have a goal to start a podcast this year with my sister. While ours won’t necessarily be community based, I think a community podcast would be a great idea! A community podcast could showcase the voices and stories of the community. You could invite community members to come and share their experiences, perspectives, and insights. It would be a great way to build connections and promote a sense of community, and also would also provide a platform to educate and raise awareness on certain topics.
Ultimately, the best way to get involved in your community will depend on your interests, skills, and availability. However, by volunteering, participating in local government, and getting involved in community events, you can have a positive impact on the community while also having a fulfilling experience.
I hope to see you at a few events this year.
O – H !