Life can be difficult, but many people find that one of the best ways to find satisfaction and happiness is by helping to make the world a better place. Although bettering the world on a grand scale can be helpful if not admirable, sometimes the small, simple acts of service and kindness make the most difference. If you’ve been thinking about how you can make a difference in the world, consider your own community and the interests of those most in need. Below you’ll find five ways to make a positive impact in your own sphere, as well as the world as a whole, because making the world a better place starts at home.
There are countless ways to offer your time to worthy organizations and people, because in many cases, time is just as valuable as money. Whether you volunteer at a local school or with a nationally renowned nonprofit such as Habitat for Humanity, you’ll find that you can lend a helping hand. If you’re not sure where to start, the technology age has made it easier than ever before to find opportunities. JustServe helps you view and organize opportunities to serve and volunteer in your own community. Just enter your zip code, and you can pick through myriad opportunities for something that fits your schedule and abilities. Volunteer opportunities exist for community mentors to English tutors and visits to the elderly.
2. Be kind
Kindness is always a good idea, and definitely makes the world a better place. This could involve getting to know your neighbors better, being friendly to people you meet throughout the day, and even giving compliments to friends and strangers alike. You could pay for someone’s groceries in line behind you—who knows, you might just start something. A little kindness can go a long way, so give it a try and you might be surprised with how it makes a difference.
3. Help the planet
Apart from the basics of conserving water and cutting down on waste and overall consumption, there a few specific things you can do to help the planet and your community’s environment. If you don’t have a community garden, try starting one or planting your own. When possible, shop locally and utilize public transportation to cut down on your carbon footprint. Lastly, if you want to help your neighborhood or city look better, you can organize a community cleanup.
4. Be politically active
Although the current political climate might seem discouraging, it’s important to know that knowledge is power. Voting helps you have a say in your community, but it’s vital to do your research and learn all you can about local issues—from both sides of the aisle. Divisiveness will continue to be a problem in this country if we don’t try to see the other side of the coin and work together to find solutions. That being said, do your part to be politically aware. Attend community and town hall meetings, and learn and vote about causes you care about. Ballotpedia is a great place to get started for the politically inexperienced.
5. Participate in charitable work
More than feeling good, donating to charity has been proven to help businesses and their bottom line. Nonprofits are a great place to start, especially since you can see exactly where their donated funds are going. Not every person has large amounts to give to worthy charities, but there’s always something you can do to support causes you care about. A recent analysis in Health Affairs cited by the New York Times predicted that by 2029, there will be 14.4 million middle-income seniors who do not qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford the care they will need. This is a projected statistic, which means that there are real people who need help now. If you want to do something good for those in need, donate to Live Care Foundation, a nonprofit that helps pay for assisted living and live-in care. Make a difference by donating today.
Ms. Harris is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys reading, triathlons, and baking.