On Your Doorstep

On your doorstep

Words by Abigail Tennant
Illustration by Alice Clark

I don’t know about you but I love cultures and learning about how they all differ. There is a lot to be learnt from observing other cultures and we are lucky to live amongst so many. Wherever you live, you are in a community. But the question is — do you get involved in yours? If not — why not? I know from experience that there is so much to be gained from community involvement and there will be a way to do this through taking part in something you enjoy.

I help out in my community by organising reading sessions for children and offering each child a preloved book in return (donated by other parents). I also work with the community at my university to try to help improve mental health and wellbeing. I love the feeling of ‘Giving Back’.

Take a moment to think of something you would love to do to help your community. Next, take a moment to look online, in the local shops and community centres and you will find a way to get involve; it’s usually free. If there’s nothing that you feel would work for you, why not set something up yourself?

“Wherever you live, you are in a community.”

Back in the olden days I was told by my mum people used to always talk to each other in the street and would all look out for each other. What has happened to society to stop this happening now? It’s a big question and one I don’t expect you to answer. It’s worth a think though.

My simple community-building challenge is: smile at someone when you pass them. Say “good morning/afternoon/evening.” Even if they don’t answer back, at least you tried. I do this all the time when I am on a run or walk; I get a buzz from it. If they don’t reply I just think I hope they have a nice day as it seems so far they are not. I don’t see it as rudeness; I see it as them being in their own bubble of life. Or they may have been having a bad day and you smiling or saying hello may help them a little — you never know.

What will you do to make a difference in your community? Try it, you never know you may actually enjoy it just like me.

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