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What You Can Do To Make Community Stronger
It largely goes without saying that over the last 18 months, the world has been plunged into a time of great change and no small amount of uncertainty. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen the way we live, work, and socialize change in a way no one could have imagined, even in December of 2019. One effect of this has been to make us wonder when it will all end. Another, perhaps more positive one, has been to make us think about how we can help the people around us.
Different people in different places have reacted in different ways to the advent of such an extreme event. However, one common thread has been that – with the chances for interaction so suddenly limited – we’ve had to think about what matters most. One strong message that has emerged in all of this is that these testing times are much easier to live through if you are surrounded by a strong community. So, while we wait to see what will be the next turn – and as we bear in mind that another pandemic can never be ruled out – it’s worth considering how you can contribute to building a stronger community.
Utilize your own skills, and encourage others to do the same
For many of us, the events of the last year-and-a-half have been the first time we’ve lived among an all-encompassing public emergency. Regardless of whether we were the type of person who tended to follow the news, or someone who would usually tune it out, the threat of Covid reached all of us.
After the initial shock of knowing how serious it was, many people started to think about how they could help in their community, and the most immediate thing you can do is “whatever you do best.” If you’re a good organizer, you can arrange shopping runs to ensure the most vulnerable are catered for. If you’re a skilled cook, you could prepare meals for those people who had someone in the hospital. Even post-pandemic, there will be ways that you can use your skills in the community.
A key part of helping out in the community is stepping into the breach on the part of those ill-equipped to do it for themselves. This can mean examples such as the above or advocating for people who are in difficult situations. Liaising with healthcare services on the part of uninsured or under-insured people is one way to do this. Another may be to find help from immigration lawyers for neighbors who are facing deportation battles or family separation. Often the most vulnerable people are those least able to organize things for themselves, so being an advocate for them is all the more important.
Talk to everyone, and listen too
A community is at its strongest when it has more links and when those links are reinforced. This often requires someone to take the first step. This may be you, and the way it will work is that you start to have conversations. If one neighbor mentions to you that they are looking at going into business and need a website, that’s salient information.
If you speak to another neighbor and learn that they have a daughter who builds websites and is looking for a commission, you can bring the two together, creating a stronger bond in the community. As things progress, more people will speak to others in the neighborhood, which fosters community spirit.
Organizing has become much easier with the advent of social media, and Facebook is almost custom-designed to allow you to run a community exchange. Setting up a Facebook group will allow people to communicate, raise questions, answer them, and organize events. Of course, Facebook is also an easy place to foment discord, so make absolutely clear that the group is no place to raise grudges and settle scores. If people have cause to address an issue with a neighbor, they can do it appropriately. That manner will pretty much never be bringing it up on a Facebook group and encouraging people to take sides.
Communities that work together can become strong enough to deal with anything the world throws at them. We may not have seen the pandemic coming when it did, but knowing how easily the world can become a scary place means that we can be ready for the next time a strong community is needed.