Communities matter. Here's how to build one that's great.
By Henry Adeleye on April 24, 2015
Every living organism (and almost every human) thrives when they live, grow and connect as a community. It takes a beehive to make honey and a village to raise a child. The importance of having a strong community is as great now as it's ever been, with technology constantly threatening to take face-to-face interactions away from us. After participating in last weekend's Streets Alive Festival, I was reminded of how vibrant communities help produce vibrant individuals. And meeting so many different people who care so much about the place they call home showed just how important it is to create a fostering environment for growth. But vibrant communities don't just fall out of the sky. They're built brick by brick by the hands of people, not big developers. It's important for individuals to make their marks, finding their own unique ways to move the world forward and help their communities thrive. Here's how you can help build yours:
No one gets to where they are on their own. Even in today's highly individualistic society, we're seeing a move back to communities, with people flocking to big cities and paying an arm and a leg to find something that's missing. What people fail to realize is that community isn't something you find. It's something you build. Most sane men and women with feelings and a heartbeat get satisfaction from serving others. Just ask anyone who's ever volunteered anywhere and you'll find this to be true. The key to building a great community is to put others first. Help create a place where society can rely on you when they need a helping hand. What are you doing to serve others? What services are you providing that can make your little corner of the globe a better place? Ask yourself these questions as you seek to add value to your surroundings. If you're only in it for yourself, one day you'll be by yourself. However, if you're in it for others, you'll make a difference in the lives of many and also be rewarded for it.
Everyone wants to belong to something. In fact, in order to flourish, we need to belong to something. We need people we care about and who care about us. We need the barber who cuts our hair, the doctor who cares for our sick kids, and even the neighbor whose dog keeps mistaking our yard for a port-a-potty. They all make us immensely better people than we could possibly be by ourselves. And this goes beyond where we live. Our online, professional, and educational communities are equally important. Make connections with the people you want to be a part of your life for a really long time. Go ahead, help build a great environment of your own. Leave your neighborhood a little better than you found it. The community will thank you for it. And even more important, you'll thank it, too.