On my birthday, I blogged about friendship and how important it is to feel like you are part of a community. In the comments, KV suggested joining a book club or another group with shared interests (FYI, she found the book club through meetup.com, and I know several other people who’ve successfully used that site). That’s a fantastic idea, and it’s one I’ve been thinking more about as Election Day approaches. There are several key races in my town this year, and in every single promotional piece I’ve seen, the candidates are highlighting how they’ve involved the community in making decisions about key issues. They’ve hosted neighborhood meetings, coffees, and other events trying to connect with voters (obviously, their priority is getting votes), but also—and this is what stuck out to me—trying to connect neighbors to each other. To foster that sense of community, even if the only shared interest is geographical. That absolutely seems worth supporting! So yes, I’m voting tomorrow, but I’ve also decided to invest a little more time in community issues, whether that is following a few Twitter feeds related to my town, attending neighborhood meetings, or simply checking out more of the community-building events the town puts on each year.
If you wanted to take it to the next level, volunteering for a candidate or a cause you believe in is a great way to meet like-minded people and make a difference. All kinds of organizations need help, and as a bonus, studies show that volunteers live longer, have less depression, and are more physically active. If you need help finding an organization that fits your interests and skills, check out www.volunteermatch.com. Here’s to community!