As time goes on, humans tend to lose their sense of connection to their surrounding communities. The internet has brought us closer together, but only from the corners of the Earth. It takes a certain focus and intent to build up our community and those within it that need assistance. Here in Atlanta and Toulouse, we understand the importance of giving back to and getting involved in our community. But, why should we be so concerned about getting involved in the first place?

Why Get Involved:
It is often overlooked that a community is made up of many different individuals. The level of involvement at the individual level is a direct reflection of how the community operates as a whole. If no one gets involved in the proper upkeep, support, and rehabilitation of a failing community, it will never receive the support it needs. If not you, then who?

Ten Ways You and Your Family Can Give Back to Your Community:

1: Shop Local
Online commerce has severely impacted local businesses’ ability to sell at competitive rates. By purchasing goods and services from your community’s local businesses, you are supporting local families and putting money back into your community’s economy!

2: Clean Up
Littering and pollution are serious problems in almost every city across America. You, your family, your church, and your team can make a difference in two huge ways: dispose of waste materials properly, and organize neighborhood clean-up projects.

3: Mentor
Each one of us has a unique and individual experience in life. Find a young person who could use some guidance and support, then stick with them to help them succeed. Many teens and young adults don’t have the same support systems that others were blessed with.

4: Vote
As a member of your community, you not only vote with your dollar, but also with your ballots. Failure to vote on important matters suggests that you care little about the outcome; if that isn’t the case, take some time to vote in your community’s next election.

5: Attend and Volunteer for Local Events
It takes a lot of work and planning to pull together local events for your community. Show your support by attending them, thanking the hosts, proposing new ideas, and volunteering if you have the time!

6: Provide Aid and Time to Shelters
Both animal and homeless shelters are always in need of supplies and volunteers. You can donate food, toiletries, basic medication and first aid treatments, and other basic necessities to the needy in your community. Your local shelters may also need help with cleaning, organizing, and transporting materials.

7: Carpool
Carpooling gets excess vehicles off the road and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. By carpooling with friends, family, and coworkers, you can help reduce the traffic and pollutant load in your community!

8: Get Certified
In the event of a disaster, your community needs certified first responders. You may wish to get your CPR or first aid certifications or take classes on how to handle emergencies and natural disasters. Don’t forget to create a plan for your family to follow in your absence.

9: Donate to Thrift Stores
Not everyone in your neighborhood can afford to replace their worn-out shoes or rain jacket. You can be a big help to others by donating your extra clothing, kitchen appliances, bedding, and other items.

10: Donate to Organizations
If you simply don’t have the time to seek out opportunities or volunteer of your own accord, you can still get involved! Pick a local non-profit organization that gives back to the community – support them financially. Your money will go to good uses, and the majority of organizations publish yearly (even quarterly) statements detailing where funds went.

Here at the Atlanta Toulouse Sister City Committee, we are dedicated to the growth and success of our two communities. We all work together to ensure that Atlanta and Toulouse are pleasant, safe, encouraging places to live. Become a member and get involved today!

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