Stewardship is the act of taking responsibility for the well-being of the environment and doing something to restore or protect that well-being.
Now, we know what we’re about to say sounds contrived, but it really is the God’s honest truth. When Kim started 8THIRTYFOUR 15 years ago, she did it with the express goal of not only doing agency differently but also to continuously give back to the community we work, live and play in.
We’ve done this in a variety of ways through scholarships, pro bono services, volunteering, advocating and much more. We want to share the ways you can be a better community steward. Don’t you want to leave your little corner of the world better than how you found it?
Take the time to listen
When it comes to your community, you’ve probably got a pretty good list of things you’d like to change. However, your priorities might not be the priorities of everyone in the area you’re trying to help. Reach out to people from various walks of life and ask them what they’d like to see impacted or changed in their neighborhood. Then, with that in mind, make a game plan. The more perspectives you have, the more ideas you’ll get, but hopefully, you’ll be able to focus on something that makes a real difference for the people around you.
Make it achievable
Focus on small, achievable goals that add up to a big accomplishment. If your goal as a community steward is to improve access to food for the people around you, start by focusing on small ways you can make a big impact. It can be as simple as donating to a local food pantry, or coordinating efforts in your neighborhood and handling the pick-up and drop-off.
Give of your time
Giving back doesn’t have to require a monetary donation; there are a lot of ways you can assist just by giving of your time. Volunteer with Meals on Wheels and deliver meals to seniors in your neighborhood. Check out the local Boys & Girls Club and see where they could use assistance; this could be coaching, serving up ice cream during the summer or helping set-up for an event. Supporting other businesses, people, and the environment in your community is a great way to be a good community steward.
Lead by example
A smile and a good attitude go a long way in brightening people’s day, especially because in this post-pandemic world, people have kind of become assholes.
Remember, managers lead, leaders serve. Make yourself a servant of the community, and others will follow your lead. There will be some who will scoff at your efforts to better the community, and even more still who will stand directly in your way—but leading by example will overcome these challenges and empower those who want to see change.
Your friends, coworkers and peers will notice that your love of your community is contagious. Encourage others to get involved with you!
Know your limitations
Don’t spread yourself too thin—There are lots of things you can do and organizations you can be a part of, but if you overcommit yourself, you’re only able to give a partial effort to each, instead of identifying a couple that you can give all of your energy to.
Most of all, think of your neighborhood as an extension of your home. You wouldn’t leave trash lying all around. If you’re out taking a break from the hustle and bustle, grab a bag and pick up some litter if you run across it: two birds, one stone.
Honestly, it all comes down to being a good person, and the world could really use it right about now.