When we think about community, oftentimes, we tend to relate it to where we grew up. But in reality, we have different forms of community wherever we may be: from our neighborhood community, to our city, to our community of Cal Lutheran, to the community of what dorm we may live in. It is all community. This semester, I am taking a Politics in Community development course. I decided to take this course because I heavily believe that a community makes you who you are as a person and has such an influence throughout your daily life and your beliefs.
But why is giving back to your community so important? It is really easy to just go about your daily life and not do anything in your community. You can just wake up, go to work, go back home and that’s it. You’re making no contribution to your surroundings whatsoever, and that maybe the life some people wish to live. Although, that isn’t really effective in getting your voice heard, nor is it effective in actually being involved and knowing what’s going on around you. For me personally, giving back to my community is important because, without that community, I would not be the person I am today. There are so many successful people throughout the world, and even in our own neighborhoods, who have never looked back as if they forgot where they came from. I find it very difficult for someone to be a successful person but yet never even acknowledge the people and places who helped them reach where they currently are.
How does someone give back? There is a variety of different ways to do so, and it does not always have to relate to money. Some people may give back by pursuing higher education and eventually coming back to their community whether that be in the workforce or by just volunteering at different locations. Others may even start their own non-profits in the community in order to give back and help out. Giving back can be as simple as serving as a voice for the underrepresented. There are so many people who may not know where to turn to for assistance or may just not want to ask for it. By guiding them in the right direction or by simply answering their questions, we are helping our communities.
We all have different forms of how we may define giving back to our communities. I think the main takeaway from all of this is to remember why we are giving back. We should not be giving back in order to make ourselves look good or in order to say that we did something good. We should give back in order to make a difference. It should not always be about “Oh, I did this and this and this for them,” but it should be more about actions rather than going around mentioning all the good we have done.
Photo courtesy of the Author