Every year my local chapter of the Black Community Leadership Alliance organizes a volunteer outing to beautify a stretch of highway that bisects my hometown as a part of a community beautification campaign that has been ongoing for almost 8 years now. In this post, I want to outline a few of the great positive effects that can be found in taking advantage of community-based campaigns like beautification efforts.
One of the best effects that programs like this one have is that they get kids involved in community based outreach programs early on. Time and time again we see kids drift away from school, from their home lives, or from the community simply because no one is asking them to participate. It seems almost too simple of a solution, but it pays off in multiples. Studies show in marketing, politics, and countless other fields that if you ask someone to participate in a certain activity that they are much more likely to participate. Think about that. We could possibly be reaching hundreds more kids just by asking them to participate in community activities.
Meeting Community Leaders
Another aspect of community based volunteer programs that benefits kids is that it allows them to meet their community’s leaders. It puts them in touch with people that they might otherwise not really think of personally. For instance, many kids know about their mayor or their city councilmen, but seeing them in person and even working directly beside them can make a huge difference in the life of a struggling student. It personalizes these people, shows the kids that they are accessible and, yes, even the leaders are out doing hard work with everyone else. It gives the kids someone to look up to.
Gives Pride in Community
Another huge positive that campaigns like this instill in kids around the community is a pride in the place that they living. This point cannot be understated in my opinion. After all, it’s hard to take pride in where you live when it’s full of garbage or run down, but by participating in beautification efforts, you can not only show these kids that hard work yields some great rewards, you can also give them a reason to have pride in their newly beautified community.
Thinking Outside of the Box
Our community has chosen to pick up the stretch of highway near of town. Don’t think that this is the only beautification project that you and your group can do, however. We chose this project because it fits our community’s need and our location. We have a heavily trafficked road that divides the town that collects a lot of garbage; so cleaning it helps everyone in the community. When picking your own beautification project, you should decide on one that similarly fits the needs of your town. Perhaps you have a large artistic community and having community-wide mural contests would be more appropriate. Anything is possible; just be sure to keep your mind open for new ideas.
I hope that my yearly project inspires your and your community’s leaders to do the same in helping out the children in your town.