Making a difference in your community is not as difficult as it seems

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Even though we all have very busy lives, finding the time to make a difference is important. The biggest challenge, though, is knowing where to start. Even if we don’t always know what projects are best for us to get involved with, small efforts can make a big impact.

So rest assured, there are a few ways for you to use your talents and interests for the greater good. Here are some of the many different avenues you can take.

1. Volunteer at a food bank or shelter

Contributing to the efforts of your local food banks or shelters is a meaningful way to help those in your community who are less fortunate than yourself.

You can help out by serving and preparing meals, setting up beds, or simply just being there for someone else in need.

This will not only allow you to contribute to a worthy cause, but it’ll also give you an opportunity to meet and connect with the people you’re assisting. You’ll be able to see the impact your work has first-hand, which you don’t get by making a simple donation of money or goods. (Thought those are vital things to do, as well.)

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2. Help out a neighbor

Sometimes, we can overlook those around us who are not as obviously in need of help.

Maybe your neighbor has medical complications that prevent them from doing chores, or they are working several jobs while raising children. Perhaps you just know that they’re going through a difficult time. Whatever the case, you can offer your time and effort to those people around you who could really use a hand.

Consider mowing a lawn or raking leaves, or just helping them to cook a meal or babysit while they take time to themselves. It could be as simple as sitting with them and listening to their problems.

Actions like these can make a big difference to those around you, and the ripple effect can even take hold throughout your community.

3. Coach a local sports team

Helping to foster a love for sports in your community’s youth is a great way for you to contribute. Whatever athletic endeavor you’re into, there is probably a local volunteer coaching opportunity for you.

Sports are said to help teach kids about teamwork and healthy competition, as well as life lessons like how to lose gracefully. Sports also keep kids active, which is good for their overall health and wellness.

By being a good coach for these kids, you can help transform this childhood rite of passage into a positive one.

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4. Teach an arts course

A lot of local recreation centers have artistic teaching opportunities.

Whether you want to teach children how to paint, offer acting classes to high school students, or introduce ceramics to adults, you can find an avenue to share your talents.

Being creative in any capacity can be extremely beneficial, especially for mental health and wellness. Teaching these skills to others can help them with their own expression and make your community a more beautiful place.

5. Start a community garden

Planting a community garden can improve the atmosphere of your town and make it a more pleasant place to be, while giving a boost to your local ecosystems.

This can also become a wonderful meeting place for the people in your community to come together and become closer to each other.

Perhaps most importantly, growing crops in a community garden can help to boost the town’s economy, or help out those less fortunate in the area. If some of the produce is donated to local shelters and food banks, and the rest goes to local businesses and farm stands, everyone can share in the benefits.

These options, as well as countless others, are great ways for you to make a very real impact on the lives of those around you.

Watch next: How to turn your kitchen into a tiny produce farm

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