The Jasmine Revolution still being played out throughout the world was started by one man from Tunisia who ran a vending cart who had enough. Although lighting fire to oneself is very extreme and not recommended. It is important to note that only one person started a revolution that is changing the course of history for the world.
Of course change doesn’t have to be that extreme. A Civil Citizen can start small and solve or help relieve one struggle in the community in which they live. What is one thing that can be done to make your community a better place? What can you do to help out? Who will support you in this endeavor?
Two years ago in my community I noticed that there was a sharp increase in the number of people needed social services help because of a dive in the economy that no one anticipated to happen so deeply, quickly and profoundly in our community. There are a few ways to react to news like this.
1) Say oh that’s too bad.
2) Say what can I do about this?
3) Ask how can I multiply my efforts by getting other people involved in helping out?
I chose option 3. I want to write about it so that hopefully others will try too. It is not that I have any special training, education or am more qualified than anyone else. The only difference is that I showed up to meetings and worked with others to make results happen. Anyone can do it, they just need to get started, have well defined goals, and complete them.
The first thing to do is to identify a problem in the community.
Second, determine a reachable goal relating to that problem.
Third, find others in the community that agree there is a problem and would like to help you with your goal. Find community partners in the media, government, business, non-profit, and faith based sectors to help support your goal. Include personal associates that can be a benefit of support as well. The more the merrier.
Fifth, work together to meet that goal. Make sure all members of the group are given responsibilities to fulfill so that the work is shared and the credit for achieving the goal can be shared as well.
In my case with the fantastic group I got to work with as a result of being a member of the board for Mesa Leadership Training and Development and by working with other alumni in the program that supported the goal we were able to add several thousand dollars to the budget for funding non-profits in our community. We may not have been able to solve the entire problem however we eased the burden.
Too many times people can get caught up in the notion that if they cannot solve the entire problem that it is a wasted effort to do anything or even try. However if everyone does a small part to work on an overwhelming issue, humanity can come together to solve it. Like a puzzle if many people offer a piece to the puzzle the entire issue may be able to be solved over time. That is certainly worth the effort.