Today, Jan. 28, is Global Community Engagement Day. Every year on this day, the official worldwide holiday is marked to encourage people, groups, and businesses to better engage with their communities.
Why? Because our communities are stronger when we own them together. Democracy works when engaged, informed citizens take action in their communities in meaningful ways. Everyone – residents, groups, businesses, and organizations – has an important role to play in fortifying civic life in our towns, cities, and neighborhoods. When we all are connected to one another and to institutions, we are better positioned to solve local problems.
That’s why Civic Nebraska works daily to strengthen our state’s civic fabric with training and programming for towns, cities, neighborhoods, and individual citizens. We support people to be connected, informed, and engaged in their communities and state.
Places with strong civic health have:
Resilient, thriving economies
Trusting, supportive, and networked communities increase innovation, resilience in tough times, and long-term prosperity. Businesses are invested in the community and all people are connected and prepared for opportunities to thrive.
Representative, accountable governments
Our schools, law enforcement, and other public institutions are fair, effective, and trustworthy. We have access to our elected officials and are empowered to use our voices to ensure that they are responsive and accountable to our needs.
Strong social connections
Residents work together to create vibrant communities with positive growth and opportunity. Strong connections between people encourage trust, attachment, and a sense of belonging.
Health and well-being
Civically healthy communities support the physical well-being of their members. Community members have equal access to safe, quality housing, healthcare, and environments that enhance their sense of agency and ability to engage their neighbors and positively change their community.
How to participate
Start by sharing what you, your business, or your group or organization do for your community. Tag it #GlobalCommunityEngagementDay.
›› Learn how you can become more involved in your community. A good place to start is by looking through our Civic Health Index from 2020, which indicates what areas of civic engagement Nebraskans are good at, and where we need improvement. The Index is a great resource for conceiving and understanding civic engagement in our state.
›› Connect with others who think community engagement is essential. Neighborhood groups, higher-ed initiatives, nonprofits, community advocates, and civic-minded businesses abound in Nebraska.
›› Give your employer ideas about how the company can be more involved in the community. Many workplaces have either formal or informal community outreach and engagement committees. From establishing corporate matches for employee donations to setting aside work time for group community improvement projects, it’s never been easier to work with employers to ensure productive and positive corporate citizenship.
›› Donate toward a cause. Put your time, talent and treasure to work. Organizations such as Civic Nebraska are full-time builders of civic health, and there are many worthy nonprofits and for-profit businesses who make it their mission to connect and empower others. Visit SHARE Omaha and Give To Lincoln to find organizations that advocate for community betterment.
›› Come up with a list of things that your community does well, and those things that will better your community. Civic Nebraska provides asset-mapping sessions with groups and local governments across the state to create community frameworks for progress. Let us know if you’d like us to visit your town or city.