What are the little things that make the big difference in the world?
I have become involved in a group called World Changers of Cascadia (feel free to check it out on facebook), and we're trying to get the communities involved in things to help out. We have a great many ideas, and we're willing to do them all, from super hero trash pick up, to building community gardens and so on. What would YOU want to see changed? What do you do for change in your community?
Assisting the community organisations who provide the most help for those in need and pass on funds to worthy causes ie: shelters/refuges, hospital fundraising groups, op shops/thrift stores, volunteer groups, disability services, churches, local charities, etc.
Visiting those who are lonely, disabled or isolated or setting up groups or activities for them is very beneficial and something to think about getting involved in.
Everyone can make time to help in some way or another... no matter how busy they are. Holding fundraising activities is an excellent place to start. It's easy to set up if you have the numbers to pitch in. Also, as you mentioned, clean-ups are a great way to put time and human effort to good use. Many hands make light work, as they say!
Just in general though, the little things people can do personally can make a big difference including smiling and politeness to as many people as you can each day, random acts of kindness (Google it for ideas!), helping friends or strangers out when you witness that they are struggling (without being asked or prompted!), giving compliments, doing something thoughtful for your family members or helping out that little bit extra without anyone telling you to, simply asking people how they are (and really caring about the answer!)... and just generally making time to CARE - in as many simple ways as possible. You can start small.
Making sure there are more parks and side walks. In neighborhoods, there are no side walks here. It's insanity! Community gardens sound like a good idea.
I used to live in a village where there was road and then very tall hedges on top of rock walls, and no place for pedestrians to walk, never mind the roads were about a car and a half in width. I fully agree with side walks - and bike lanes too!
Plant some tree or have a small garden in the back yard it would help the environment and our food budget.
Help an old woman/man or disabled cross the street so they will be safe.Give alms and food if you have an extra.
Simply smiling at other people and making an effort to be nice instead of judging people for what they look like.
Validate all the people that you meet and witness the change... Watch this video at this URL: http://vimeo.com/15429960
Scarlett has a great point in helping nonprofits improve their own functioning. Especially in cities, there are a ton of nonprofits that are already taking care of community improvements, but many of them are lacking in a skill or two that could be key to their success.
Here in Pasadena CA we have a chapter of Jericho Road Project that provides ad hoc expertise and coaching to nonprofits. I've just signed on to help local nonprofits with web design. Others I know are helping develop marketing materials or accounting systems. Here is the URL for the national organization if anyone's interested:
i say, recycle our unwanted things into good use is the best way to save our planet. I hate when people still do open burning of rubbish, leaves, plastics, tyres in their front yard. Really annoying and the air is badly polluted.
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