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Jun 10, 2012
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Toys for Tots
by: Lauren

Many people in our country have cherished memories of holidays with the family. For many, the big holidays of the year are Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remember my parents taking me to a local tree farm, walking through the rows of evergreens for what seemed like hours, just to find the perfect tree. I also remember browsing the 'toy books' of retail stores, carefully circling what I wanted, then making a list for Santa. Now I live in Hawaii, and the economy here has taken a big downward turn. Every year around the holidays, I start to see commercials for the Toys for Tots program. Last year, I finally took the plunge & got in touch with the local chapter. I volunteered the weekend before Christmas to help organize the toy donations, then separate them into households. We had lists from kids, as well as a form filled out by parents that was really heartbreaking to read - by far, most requests were for clothes, shoes & bedding. These bare necessities were their biggest wishes. They toys we gave them in addition to simple household products were like unexpected miracles. After the toys were organized, according to boys, girls or neutral appeal, they were sorted out to closely match what kids had wished for. This was my favorite part of volunteering - reading a kid wanted a fishing pole & being able to pick one out, wrap it & write 'From Santa Claus' on it made my heart swell with joy. In some cases, families requested we not wrap the toys, and instead we'd give them wrapping supplies to do it themselves. Even this small, common chore regular people take for granted every year brought them happiness. Toys for Tots is directed by the Marines of America, and can be found in many cities of America. Its easy to find drop off boxes for toys, or to volunteer your time to bring holiday joy to local families. Working with the volunteers of our community, each of putting our community first, is possibly the best gift I've ever received.

Jun 10, 2012
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Habitat for Humanity
by: Jody

Many places across the country have a local Habitat for Humanity building project going on the summer. This ia a great way to but your community first while helping those who are less fortunate. If you do not know about this project let me tell you what a great cause it it. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit agency who builds houses for familys that would not otherwise be able to afford to buy a house.
If you have not been on a build it is exciting to see it through from start to finish as the house go up so quickly.
This project builds several houses in a matter of weeks so they are done in a very short amount of time and they require lots of help. They have many different projects that you can choose from also. You could be helping to plant yards and gardens, roofing, painting, drywalling or you can volunteer to take care of the other volunteers. This projects take the whole community to finish and in the end provide a great house for a deserving family.
You do not have to have experience as there are builders on site to help with the more difficult things.All you need is a bit of enthusiam, a great attitude and a few tools. So bring your hammer and contact your local Habitat for Humanity they can always use your help for such a great cause!
If you do not want to help with a build there is always the Habitat for Humanity store. The store sells left over building supplies to the public and they require people to man the store. So you you are looking for a way to help out your community look for your local branch and see how you can help put your community first.

Jun 10, 2012
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our community our first home
by: Nithi

Putting our community first is a good initiative. We should care upon our neighbors, shopkeepers and having a good relationship with them makes our life a lively one.
I have a tip for this topic. Children are the pillar for future world. children growing with their parents get enough care and love but there are children in orphanages who lack love and affection. A survey says that children brought up without care have more chance of becoming robbers and terrorist in future. If we have an orphanage near by, do visit it often. Get gifts to the children there. Make our kids play with them. We can help them in their studies and also if possible financially support them.
I have the habit of visiting orphanage often and on my birthday and my kids birthday i provide them new clothes and good food.This act went around in my office and my colleague also started doing this on their special days.
My sister is a teacher and in her free time she is a trainer to the children. She tells them good stories and help them to get inspired by the life history of great leaders.
One of my neighbor don't have a baby for years, they decided to adopt a child from orphanage and they are very happy now. My neighbor have a baby and the baby have parents. Having parents is a must for any child. They can teach good habits and good manners to the child.A Child growing with parents can only get him a good and healthy lifestyle.Anybody can adopt an orphan and help for their bright future. By adopting a child we are helping the society. Adoption should be encouraged. If people shows interest on this our world don't have any orphans. This can be a good initiative to put our community first.

Jun 10, 2012
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Random Acts of Kindness
by: Restless

Thank you for the useful tips on putting your community first! Besides the first tip, they all seem to revolve around ‘Acts of Kindness’ that everyone can no doubt agree are indeed very kind! This seems to be the best way to improve a community. By giving of yourself and giving back, you can receive so much more. The community will be a nicer place to live and your acts can inspire others. Expanding on this idea, doing an Act of Kindness every day can quickly improve a community, and it’s easy to do.

Definitely participate with community projects, such as the ones listed in this tips article on Nikenya, if you can. Many communities also organize events such as parades, Red Cross blood drives or city wide clean ups. While you’re at the Town Council meetings, be sure to ask about any existing projects or possibly starting one. If you’re willing and able to volunteer your professional services, those can usually be put to good use in communities as well.

But you should also know that Acts of Kindness don’t have to be large, time and money consuming gestures. To offer a few more suggestions: try dropping off some donuts to your local firefighters or giving flowers to a stranger or leaving sticky notes of appreciation (such as “You are loved” and “Thank you for being you”) in random places around your community. This can brighten up someone’s day and help make the whole community in general a friendlier place to live, everyday, instead of just whenever we’re reminded we should be kind (like around the holidays).

Other great ideas can be found at charity sites such as The Random Act (therandomact.org). The Random Act in particular, as their name suggestions, focuses on Random Acts of Kindness that improve an individual community first and the rest of the world second. If you come up with a nice idea on how to spread kindness, The Random Act may even help fund it, whether it’s your own personal undertaking or part of a larger project from a non-profit organization based in the community. It’s very nice to have outside groups like this willing to help, after all, we are all part of the ‘world community’.

So keep an eye out for any kindnesses you can perform for your neighbors and help make your community a better place!

Jun 10, 2012
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Volunteer at your local Goodwill store
by: Jeff

One place you might look to help out your local community is your local Goodwill retail store. Goodwill is not for profit store that was started by a Methodist reverend named Edgar Helms in 1902. The Reverend found that the newly landed immigrants that were struggling to get by would not take a hand out of the clothes and household goods his ministry had collected. Helms then had the idea to charge a nominal fee for the donated goods he had collected. This allowed them to hire impoverished people to repair the goods and eventually to sell the donated items. Today Goodwill is in over 25 countries across the world. They offer employment training to people facing barriers to employment all over the world.

You may be able to do all sorts of interesting activities at your local Goodwill. One activity would be working at the donation door. Here you will accept donations that other people bring in. After accepting the donation you would learn the different categories that they are sorted into. Another activity you may help out with is ticketing the merchandise. Simply put all you would do is place a price sticker on the item after a Goodwill Team Member decided on the price. Another great opportunity at Goodwill is helping out with donation drives. You may be able to drive a truck or help collect items at a drop off location.

Most people don't understand what being a non-profit organization really means. Goodwill puts the community first. They take all the "profits" from the donations they receive and they use it to fund a variety of programs to help individuals in the community.

Goodwill also partners with other community agencies to give vouchers for items to help those in the community that are in need.

If you have some free time and are looking to give back to the community I highly recommend you give your local Goodwill store a call. You will have a great experience along with a great feeling knowing that you are doing something positive for your community!

Jun 10, 2012
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Why Community Matters
by: Mike Grady

How could community not be important? It is the foundation of everything that we are. Everything really begins at the community level and spans out form there. It is high time we all started putting community first. If more people only understood the value of putting community first we would all be a lot better off. In fact, it is likely that we would not have the wars and the global strife that we see today, if we could only turn our focus inward and start to local at things from a more local perspective. It really is about families helping families, and people helping people. Get out and help someone, it feels good. This kind of behavior begets more of the same, and so on. Here is a win win idea for example. Get your community to grow a garden for all to share in, this will foster community efforts and help to develop a community first kind of spirit. Perhaps you could get more involved in local politics and have more of a say in what goes on in your community. Perhaps you could become active in the local schools, helping children of any age is a great way to show the community first spirit. The list is long, but there are so many ways to show that you care and that you are indeed putting community first. All it takes is a little conscious effort and a little bit of follow through to make it all come together. Once more communities begin to think and act this way, we will surely see a transformation in how the whole planet behaves. This is something that will in fact have to happen soon, as the global situation is reaching a sort of critical mass as the infinite growth paradigm is failing on all accounts. Once we realize that the old broken model of global infinite growth can no longer sustain itself then we will be able to develop new ways of conducting business globally. It is the community first attitude that will allow these things to happen, and it all starts at the local community level.

Jun 10, 2012
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Really Help Your Neighbor!
by: Lulu Lynn

A good example of getting involved in your community is simple and something everyone can do: helping your neighbor. Whether you live in a subdivision or a rural area, you are bound to have neighbors and if you don’t, helping anyone in your community will help out tremendously. Helping can include many things, big or small. Maybe you can offer a ride to a person who has no car and can’t get to their appointments or run their errands. Perhaps your neighbor needs a babysitter for a few hours and has no one to help. You can help do anything that will always end up helping your community in the long run. Plus it’s a great way to meet people you normally wouldn’t see and become more social.
If you have free time, even a small amount of time, you can help out your community. Finding ways to get involved is not that hard and is relatively simple. Even the smallest contribution can make a huge difference. Putting your community first will make the people who live around you and yourself happier.
This is a really simple way that I use whenever I have time that I would otherwise use to watch television or lounge on the sofa. We have a neighbor that is a single mother and during her job search, I watched her children for no charge while she went out for a few hours looking for a way to provide for her family. This helped her not worry about where to take her daughter and paying a fee that daycares or babysitters charge and it helped me by giving my own daughter someone to play with while I got chores done. Our other neighbor across the street mows our grass when he mows his own for no charge, but in return I make sure his two children get off the bus safely and keep them for less than hour until he gets home from work.
The simplest things can make someone else’s life easier and gives you a community you can depend on. We take for granted sometimes the people who live closest to us. A simple helping hand goes a long way.

Jun 10, 2012
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Gardens
by: Annie Sharp

The city and state government is incapable of keeping track of every inconsequential issue in small neighborhoods and communities. Instead of waiting for action to occur from other people, one can decide to step up and put their local community first. One can start with small acts such as cleaning up the trash and debris in the road and on the sidewalk. The next step would be to look online and find local volunteer groups that pick up trash in lots that can be converted in to parks or sustainability gardens. With just a few neighbors, some seeds, and a little effort, it is easy to start a community garden. Not only does a sustainability garden provides those involved with fresh vegetables and fruits for block parties, but can also provide everyone in the community with an opportunity to become familiar with one another. The people in the neighborhood can congregate and talk about issues that all may have. It is much easier to fight for our neighborhood together as a group than alone.

A small garden was started in my neighborhood and the community became much closer as we grew plants and flowers together. There was a communal concern about street corner that cars flew around because there was no stop sign. There are many children in my neighborhood and everyone in the neighborhood’s concern grew when as we spoke amongst ourselves and realized that this issue could be fatally dangerous. As a community we researched what we could do, using video tape evidence and a petition signed by countless neighbors. We also spoke to the PTA of the local elementary school and got an army of fighters behind us for our family’s safety. We appealed to our city council and within a few months a new stop sign was up for our neighborhoods safety. It may not seem like much but starting a garden in my neighborhood made a much larger difference than having beautiful flowers. Because me and my neighborhood put our community first, we may have saved lives.

Jun 10, 2012
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How putting your community first really pays off
by: Louise

Each member of a community has a certain obligation to be active in that particular community. That might mean helping someone with their groceries, or even doing a favor for your neighbor. If you put your community first it will come back to you and your family through a thriving community. Other people might see you do these things and be more inclined to volunteer their time or help someone in their life in some way. There are many ways someone can give back to their community. There are senior centers that always need volunteers, and non- profit organizations you can volunteer your time to. You could volunteer at the local food bank, or battered women’s shelter, or even at your local church. They usually have programs that are for the dis-advantaged. These are the areas you can really make an impact in because think about it, if you can change one child’s life, and help raise them to a level they might not have been able to achieve without someone to help them. They might end up in a place where they are not contributing any good to their society, they might become thieves or con artists, or even killers, because they do what they know how to do, to survive. If you can help break that cycle of hopelessness then you can change your community for the better and we will all benefit. Even people in other places, because they might see what your community is doing and be motivated to make the same changes in their own community. It all starts with one person changing someone’s situation, and then that person doing the same and essentially paying it forward, and then it just snowballs and becomes this epidemic that will actually do some good, and it all started with you putting your community first.
Louise

Jun 10, 2012
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Getting involved in community
by: geethanjali

Community is a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. The reason for getting involved in community is to help others, to overcome a loss, to learn something new, to meet new people. We can get involved in community center,community theatre etc..Getting involved in community is beneficial and there are many ways to get out and be involved in community. Being active in our community will end up helping you and those around us. There are many different activities and ways to find niche. Volunteering is also a great way to get out in our community. There is always a need for volunteers. Getting involved in community also helps our mental and emotional health. Many jobs and other aspects of life are very stressful. Finding something in active in creates a way to alleviate some of the stresses of daily life. There are so many community activities that are just waiting for us to find them. Getting out in our community also provides with a way to meet new people and form social supports groups.


Jun 10, 2012
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Helping and Giving back to my Community
by: Judy Anderson

I absolutely love these ideas on helping your community. I live in a neighborhood, where it is considered dangerous and "bad". I have thought to myself how can I change this around. I started talking to other parents at the playground, and realized that alot of the young adults there have no place to go. We are working on a community center, arts, and senior center all in one. I will volunteer as a helper for afterschool crafts and art therapy. I think this will make a huge difference. It is about bringing the community closer together, and having a mutual respect for each other. It is important to make connections with all memmbers of your commmunity and to keeep the path of communication open between parents, teachers, law officals and other adults living in the community, I love Coimmunity First as an idea, and I will use this as a catalyst to get the ball rolling in my neighborhood. Let's stop the foolish cycle of violence, and vandalism. COMMUNITY FIRST AND ALWAYS, will make for a better future for our youth and our selves!
When people actually take the time to realize how little it takes to get involved and how BIG the results are, I think they will want to make a change themselves. Give a little and what you get back is in tenfold, put the time in, as I have, and as Community First explains and you will also see great changes. It also feels so great to be a part of a change for good. Others will want to follow in your footsteps and do the same. The elderly are a gracious element in our neighborhood that is too much of the time overlooked. Tehy are a wealth of information, and if you could pair up the old with the young, the results would be dynamic in nature.

Jun 10, 2012
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Love Your Neighbor
by: Ashleigh

One really good way to put your community first is by helping the individuals that you interact with regularly. This can involve many things. You could visit older people in your community and ask if they need any yard work or cleaning done. The elderly also just love a visit. They enjoy talking to interested people about their past and their daily lives. Cooking a meal for someone whose money ran out before the month did is another good way to help. This can also be done when someone in the community passes away. Frozen casseroles that can be eaten for meals in the following days are always appreciated during a time of mourning. Perhaps you can make a weekly donation to a needy family to help them buy groceries or pay their electric bill.
If you don't want to embarrass someone who you think might need your help but doesn't want to accept it, do it anonymously. Leave a bag of groceries at their front door or weed their garden while they are out.
Another popular but very appreciated way to put your community first is by volunteering at a local soup kitchen or food bank. Volunteer time is always needed and you'll be helping the people who need it the most.
But putting your community first doesn't always mean helping the less fortunate. There's nothing wrong with mowing your neighbor's lawn or cooking his family a meal even if they don't really need the help. Inviting your whole neighborhood to a summer cookout is a nice way to get involved with the people you live near. If your family can afford to do this, it is very rewarding to see your neighbors having a good time. These bonding experiences make the whole community stronger and more close knit.
No matter your financial situation, disability or skills, you can help someone you know even if it is just by smiling at them and telling them how much you appreciate them. The best part about giving your time to help someone else is that in the end you feel even better than you did before. In many cases, you help yourself more by volunteering than you did the person that you worked for. A sense of fulfillment and joy comes from helping others.

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