August's 12 Months of Wellness focus is on community involvement. Discover simple ways to get involved in your community to make a real difference!
August marks the eighth month of our 12 Months of Wellness journey. If you’ve been following along since the beginning, pat yourself on the back. If you’re new, we welcome you to jump in and join us! This month, we flex our civic engagement muscles and become more involved in our communities.
Do good, feel good
Social participation (community involvement) is a major indicator of well-being for Canadians. Civic engagement such as volunteering can make us happier and healthier—all while bettering the places in which we live.
This month, we’re spending our first week learning more about the place we call home, and then we’re going to spend the other three weeks engaging with our communities in three important but different ways: first, by having fun; then, by volunteering; and finally, by creating change.
Drop us a line—online!
We’re well past the halfway mark on our 12 Months of Wellness journey, and we want to know how you’ve been doing. Hop online and update us with your challenges, successes, and tips, via blog comments on alive.com, Facebook comments, or by using the Twitter hashtag #2013alive.
Here at alive, we’re staying engaged too! Make sure to check out our updates on Twitter (@aliveHealth), Facebook (facebook.com/alive.health.wellness), and blog posts on alive.com to find out what we’ve been up to, and to download August’s goal tracking sheet.
Week 1: August 4 to 10
Before we can do good in our communities, we need to learn about them. It can be surprising how little we know about the communities in which we live, especially if we leave them to go to work every day.
This week, get to know your community a bit better.
Aim to familiarize yourself with current issues and upcoming events to get a head start on the next weeks’ goals.
Good to know
First time volunteering? Make note of these tips and helpful things to know before you begin.
Week 2: August 11 to 17
Dorothy may have said it best when she famously declared, “There’s no place like home!” And what better way to explore and rediscover your community by pretending to be a tourist? This week is all about engaging in our communities by simply having fun (fanny pack not necessary)!
Find an event
Stumped for ideas?
To use a fancy anthropological term, active participation basically means that if we attend a performance, but stay in our seats during intermission, simply nod at the ushers, and leave as soon as it’s over, then we’re not fully engaging in the community.
On the other hand, making conversation with the theatre volunteers, visiting the gift shop or gallery, and chatting with the performers (if they come out into the lobby in costume after the show to sign autographs) are all ways to actively participate and become more involved.
Week 3: August 18 to 24
Donate your time – Give back in a meaningful way
According to Statistics Canada, 45 percent of Canadians volunteer their time. This week, we join them!
You can choose something based on your current skill set (whether it’s web design, gardening, accounting, event coordination) or an interest/cause you’ve always wanted to become involved in.
As Speevak Sladowski notes, “Whether someone wants to learn a new skill or use those they currently have in their volunteering, involvement greatly depends on where they are in their life cycle and their current goals. Youth, for example, often see volunteering as contributing to their job search by providing an opportunity to build or improve their skills, so they will often choose a volunteer opportunity based on the skills they want to gain.”
Some places that often look for volunteers include
You may be able to go straight to the source, such as contacting a local animal shelter directly, or you can be matched with a volunteer opportunity by a third party. According to Speevak Sladowski, there are about 230 volunteer centres across the country that can help connect would-be volunteers. Visit Volunteer Canada’s website (volunteer.ca) for more information or to find the volunteer centre nearest you—or getinvolved.ca/match to find an opportunity that’s perfect for you.
Week 4: August 25 to 31
Get political – Create positive change in your community
Now it’s time to take things one step further and go about creating meaningful change in your community. You may wish to further pursue your volunteering opportunity to create positive change, or you may want to do something completely different.
If you’re not sure what you’d like to change, think back to your experiences over the past three weeks. Did anything stand out to you that you think is unfair or could be improved?
Once you know what it is you’d like to change, consider how you’d like to go about it. Being an activist doesn’t mean you have to chain yourself to a tree—although you can if you like! Activism comes in many different forms, and all are important.
If you’re looking for a few activities to add to (or swap with) the weekly goals we’ve suggested for August, consider these ideas. After all, your 12 Months of Wellness journey should be all about you—so feel free to personalize it!