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What can people do as individuals to help make the world a better place?

Updated on November 6, 2008

Generations Help Each Other


Start Small to Make the World A Better Place

When most of us watch the news, read news online or read a newspaper we often feel overwhelmed by all the pain and violence in the world. We wonder why we should bother to help the world when there are so many problems. The answer is, do what you can as an idividual and use your talents, skills and interests to the best of your ability.

Even the smallest act, like picking up trash on the street or in a parking lot is a start. There will be a few less bits of garbage blighting your neighborhood and maybe someone will see you and decide to take action in the area too. I've seen entire neighborhoods cleaned up by the good example of a few people. One gentleman took a morning and evening walk carrying a trash bag and picked up the cans, bottles fast food packages and other trash he found along his route. Soon, his block was the cleanest in the city and his neighbors began fixing other parts of the neighborhood, like boarding up an abandoned house and painting the trim on an elderly woman's house. Yes, we pay taxes and hire people to do this, but many towns and cities have cut back on these services and we should start taking care of our neighborhoods ourselves when we can.

Another small way you can help the world be a better place is by small kindnesses. When you're in line with a huge cart filled with groceries and the person behind you has only a few items, invite them to go first. Do this in traffic when a person is trying to get out of a parking lot and a side street and you're stopping for a red light - it's easy to slow down and let one person in. Of course, be mindful of the traffic!

Volunteer, even if it's only one day a month, you can make a difference. Share your knoweldge, skills or interests. A retired couple in a city near us developed a vegetable garden in their back yard and then in a vacant lot and shared the vegetables with their neighbors, many of whom were elderly and on a fixed income. Eventually some of the young people in the neighborhood started helping with the heavy work and that one small act of kindness helped an entire neighborhood.

If you're an animal lover, volunteer at your local animal shelter or rescue group. I'm a foster mom for a small breed of dog, the Havanese. They've become money makers for puppy mills and the group i work with purchases litters at a low rate (when they can) and then finds homes for the puppies and insures those puppies are spayed or neutered. Yes there are a lot of unwanted animals and you can't save them all, but I've saved five since starting about a year ago and each one was special and deserved a good life.

Donate your unwanted extra clothing to a women's shelter. Women are forced to flee an abusive partner with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Often they must take their children with them. This can be a life and death situation for them and they cannot risk the time it takes to pack or go back to retrieve clothes and other necessities. The women need everything from underwear to toiletries. Helping them and their children will indeed make the world a safer and better place, one family at a time.

Check to see if the company you work for supports local charitable events; walk-a-thons for autism, breast cancer for example and join in. Some companies encourage their employees to become involved in activities like home building through Habitat For Humanity and other service groups. It's often more fun and rewarding if you volunteer with a friend or co-worker.

If you are blessed with a large income, donating money is always welcome, but most us, if we are lucky, are just getting by. Sharing your time and energy is often more valuable than money, because it encourages others to do the same and will also help you become an acitve member of your community.


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