Part Two of You in The Community: How Can You Change Your Community?

Recently, I was walking down a street when a person with a clipboard asked me if I have five minutes to listen to a cause. For most of us, this is uncomfortable, since we recognize the good intentions of the person. Often, you might completely ignore them, and in the best case scenario, you might pretend to take a phone call. For those of you that are more benevolent, you may even spend the five minutes to listen to them. This person wants to make lasting impact, and you probably want to do that as well. That’s why in this post we will discuss how to do that in a resilient way, without the awkward fake phone call. Sorry, clipboard man.

In the last post, we talked about resilient traits, but how do those work outside of just your own life? In part two of this post series, you will learn a bit more about how to be aware of yourself in your community, with the aim of creating a more resilient world.

I recently completed a Masters in Recreational Therapy. Like most people, you probably need some background as to what that means, and it is essentially rehabilitating people through their leisure time. One of the most effective interventions for Recreational Therapists is community integration, where we help individuals identify what resources they can use in their community and how to use them so they can integrate more fluidly.

I’m going to use this approach to identify what resources you have available in all the layers of your immediate community and reaching out to your global community. The graph below is a visual of this ripple effect. In this post, we will cover the first three rings of the graph below, followed by the next three in Part Three of You in The Community.

How Can You Make a More Resilient World?

This image gives a visual for the different levels that we can create change in resilience.
You in The Community by The Sunflower Project
  1. You in The Community
    • This is essentially what we covered in the last post. What have you developed in terms of inner resilience? Have you learned ways of responding to stress? Have you become self-aware and tried to develop a more optimistic approach? Knowing which traits we have innately can help us become more useful to our community at-large. That’s why we began there.
  2. You in The Immediate Community
    • Evidence shows that people who develop strong communities are more resilient than people who isolate themselves.
    • Your immediate community is what you do on a weekly basis: gym, groceries, community centers, work and church, are a few examples of your immediate community. We can enhance resilience of these organizations by learning how they are currently functioning and what problems we can assist with. For example, does your community center lack volunteers? Does your church need a fundraiser for a new roof? Can you assist in finding resources, organizing a group, or even just getting the word out? Like I said in my first point, we all have something unique to contribute to resilient communities. Maybe you are more of a behind-the-scenes worker, as opposed to an organizer. In either case, getting involved causes a tangible impact.
  3. You in The City (Or Town, Village, etc.)
    • As we keep going through these rings on the graph, more factors come into play. Urban resilience requires many moving parts, which are hard to evaluate as an individual. Some things that might be affect resilience of a city are: unemployment, bad transportation, violence, or poverty. You can read more about what urban resilience means here.
    • Urban resilience means creating environments that are going to be able to support a traumatic event. Often, policies are made after a traumatic event occurs, when you could create environments that are ready to respond.
    • But, how can you contribute? Be aware of programs that are in your area that may can contribute to resilience. What programs can you find that address unemployment, poverty or bad transportation? For example, Seattle Jobs Initiative is a program that creates more living-wage jobs in Seattle. Since homelessness is a growing issue in Seattle, this could worsen if a natural disaster or economic crash occurred. Therefore, investing in better jobs now by donating to programs like this could create a resilient cushion for future problems.

Ultimately, this takes some careful research and learning where you could do your best. If you do want to learn how to make a stronger impact you may be interested in this book, which makes us think a little more carefully about how to be altruistic with our time and money.

Do you think change and impact is possible? Share your thoughts below!

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