The beginning of a new season can mean many things: a fresh start, a time to reassess, and for many, a chance to try something new.
It’s also often a time when individuals prioritize mental and physical well-being, with many signing up for gym memberships and meditation classes.
The great news? Getting involved in your community is beneficial for both your mind and your body! The sense of satisfaction, connection, and strength that comes from giving back close to home, is palpable. Participating in community programs, local events, or neighbourhood initiatives also introduces you to like-minded, passionate individuals, helps keep your brain and body active, and hones and grows new skill sets – all to incredible effects!
A StatsCan survey found that Canadians volunteer because it gives them “an improved sense of well-being or health,” offers opportunities to “network or meet people,” and allows them to “contribute to the community.”
So as we welcome in Spring and continue to build healthy, empowered, and inclusive communities, here are five out-of-the-box ways to help you get involved in your city, neighbourhood, and place you call home.
Support your local sports team
Do you love the thrill of the game? Check out your community’s lacrosse team, youth soccer, or high school and university sports teams. Athletes compete because they love their sport, but seeing fans in the stands makes a world of a difference. There are also great opportunities to help out through volunteer-led activities, like running the concession stand, providing colour commentary for games, or showing support over social media. (Just check out the former Mayor of Port Coquitlam’s Twitter account. Greg Moore is a big supporter of his city’s high school football team and even wagered a poetry slam performance on the outcome of a game!)
Create a neighbourhood mural
Do you get excited when you see a blank canvas? Community-painted murals are popping up across the Lower Mainland, bringing colour and character to diverse city spaces. The West End fire hall in New Westminster saw more than 100 community members come out to paint a mural as part of a “Paint New West Beautiful” event.
The best part of a project like this? They involve all members of the community, no matter their age, ability, or background.
Use your voice
Communities thrive when they reflect the diversity of their inhabitants. Your interests and concerns for your city are important! Check out your local municipality’s website to learn about civic committees, community grants, local festivals and events. There are also great resources available for new residents. The City of Burnaby’s newcomer page has great information on language programs and immigrant support groups, as well as family, youth and seniors services.
Take part in a community clean-up
All communities need a little TLC. Organizing or taking part in a civic clean-up program will make both you and your city shine! Abbotsford hosts a Community Clean-Up week in April that last year saw 1,041 residents participate. Volunteers included community groups, local organizations, and neighbourhood schools.
Grab a group of friends and together enjoy a day of exercise in the outdoors while you beautify your community. Is there any better way to stay in shape?
Support your local businesses
Shopping locally is one of the best ways to get involved in your community. It allows you to make long-lasting, meaningful connections with vendors while personally investing in the long-term success of your city. Think of it as voting with your dollars. The more support given to local, grassroot businesses, the more your community thrives.
Looking for other ways to get involved? Find more ways to give back, here.