How to make your community a better place

Be a volunteer with the schools. We should make sure school officials know we're willing to help. We can make ourselves available, not just by being members of the PTA, but also by helping at the schools. In our town, the missionaries often go to school and help children learn to read.

Be involved in Scouting. By helping in Scouting, we're helping the community. We have quite a few boys in our ward troop and some are non-members. Scouting encourages young boys to be good citizens, to be thoughtful and to believe in God. We can help these boys to grow up to be good citizens.Children are tomorrow's citizens. There are a lot of working mothers here because of the cost of living, and, therefore, children are on their own a lot. By helping in the schools and through Scouting, we can help at least some of the children.

Offer community service. Contact the community volunteer center, and find some service that would fit into your schedule. Two sisters in our ward volunteer weekly at the hospital. - Carolyn Greene and Susan Pierce, Front Royal, Va.

Don't litter

Keep the community clean. Teach children and grandchildren to not litter. The best way to do that is by example. We shouldn't throw trash around in our communities, and our best teacher is our own example.

It's also important to remember that not only should we keep our own community clean, but also we should be respectful of other communities through which we may travel. For example, we took all of our grandchildren on a vacation to Nauvoo. We were all in a 15-passenger van, and we put a simple grocery bag in the van for trash. The children threw their trash in this bag, and when we stopped at a gas station, we dumped it and pulled out a clean bag. We didn't have a problem with the grandchildren throwing trash in the streets. - Sue Fair, Wichita, Kan.

Look for good

Look for the good in order to help your community. We've only been here for about two years. When we first moved to this desert area, I absolutely hated it. Later, I realized it would be easy to complain and dislike it here. Therefore, I tried to have a good attitude, and I've noticed that in the last year I've realized it's beautiful. It's all in the attitude in which we look at things.

In addition, I have nine children, and I've thought about how it is important to teach our children respect for the community in regard to property. I get upset at vandalism. I've always tried to emphasize to my children to not do things like that. - Suzy Clayson, McDermitt, Nev.

Offer service

When I retired after doing the same job 23 years, I knew I had to find a way to stay actively involved. Voluntarism was my answer. I know I make a contribution to the quality of life in the community as I volunteer at the local hospital auxiliary three days each month. I also serve as president of the Concho Cadre, a support group with the Convention and Business Bureau. I'm a V.I.S.T.A. (Volunteers in Service to America) volunteer with the Texas Department on Aging, working with the Senior Services Division of the city. In addition, I teach early morning seminary. People ask me, "At your age , why don't you slow down?" The simple answer is found in one of our hymns, "Because I have been given much, I too must give." (Hymns, No. 219.) We can make a difference! - Mary Lou Erickson, San Angelo, Texas

Be a good neighbor

The very best way we have found to make our community better is to know our neighbors. It takes so little - take a plate of cookies and introduce yourself. After you meet your neighbors, keep in touch. Wave hello or stop and talk. In keeping our neighborhood safe, our neighbors are the best "watchdogs." They watch out for each other and if something doesn't seem quite right, they are prompt to tell us or they notify the proper authorities. We have a neighborhood watch program in progress and are enlisting help from the local sheriff's office. We're becoming educated in basic home security and crime prevention. - Kelly A. Peterson, Burley, Idaho

Be involved

Be actively involved in a positive way. Be involved in Scouting, PTA, community associations and neighborhood watches.

Look for opportunities to help neighbors and foster good feelings on the street. Greet people you meet and talk to them. Organize block parties and projects to clean and beautify the neighborhood.

Practice the commandment: "Love one another." (John 13:34.) Be involved in community and charitable organizations.

Don't be so busy in Church that you remove yourself from the community. - John Moore, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Light in a dark street

We came to this country when my husband got a job transfer. When we arrived, we found a war zone in our neighborhood - a total breakdown in community and social structure.

Not being one to accept things as they are and not wanting to keep my children prisoners in the house, I took to the streets for walks, bus rides and went to the local shop. I started to talk to the people. I spoke to young mothers at bus stops, helping them with their children. I helped families find decent schools in the district. In fact, I made myself known. Now people know I'm a helper. They can knock on my door. They know who I am. They are amazed why I'm so interested in the district as we're only passing through. I tell them as I live here at the moment, I want to make it the best place for my family.

What I'm saying is be a light in a dark street. Make where you live a decent place. I told the local shop how I disliked certain magazines. I encouraged better street lighting and wrote letters to the newspaper.

Often in this day and age, all a community wants is care. - Sue Dotan, Southfields, England

Politically active

There is so much we can do to make a difference. As a family, we chose to become active in a political party and work to elect people of integrity whose values most closely reflect our own. We have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people, make lasting friendships and present the Church's values to a wide variety of people.

In addition, we have requested the mayor of our community to act as a catalyst to get our local religious leaders together to develop a task force to review the problems in our community and find solutions. Our Church programs such as family home evening and the parent effectiveness training course from LDS Social Services can also be used to help families in our community. - Sari and Andre Gruber, Cranbury, N.J.

How to checklist:

1 Offer service; join community, school organizations.

2 Be a good neighbor; help keep community safe, clean.

3 Be active politically; seek to elect people of integrity.

4 Teach children respect; they are tomorrow's citizens.


May 7 "How to teach young people the importance of temple marriage."

May 14 "How to overcome the challenges and find joy in a difficult Church calling."

May 21 "How to help your children stay active in the Church when you have a less-active spouse."

May 28 "How to avoid contention in daily life."

June 4 "How to make family scripture study fun, interesting."

June 11 "How to help children learn to properly bear testimonies."

June 18 "How to cope when a loved one is suffering from dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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