Community involvement

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It’s great to vote, but election day is just one day of the year.  Not to be jaded… OK, maybe being just a little bit jaded – our votes don’t really count that much.  How many races are likely to be won or lost by my one vote? Zero. 

That’s not to say that I can’t make a difference.  B and I voted early, but I’ve been contemplating today what sort of citizen I want to be for the year ahead.  What are the causes that I want to support? 

Giving our time, money, or other resources to the causes we care about can make a way bigger impact than just casting a ballot. 

I’m not a super-active person in any sort of causes.  OK, I’ve tended not to be active at all.  Partly it’s that there are a lot of things that I support, but nothing I’ve found that I was so passionate about that I just wanted to dive in and commit any real amount of time to it.  Partly, it’s because I wonder about the best way to really make a difference. 

I’m unlikely to suddenly become gung-ho about any volunteer work or similar thing.  I stay pretty busy with baby B and work and all of my  hobbies.  I do aim to be a little bit more active this year. 

Today, I paid for a membership at the science museum Explora in Albuquerque.  It’s run by a non-profit and while the membership benefits me directly, it’s also an organization that I want to support.  If I don’t visit enough times to save on my entrance fees, it will still have been well worth it to me.  Although it’s a super cool place and I hope to take B a lot in the upcoming year.  I want to show my support for making science accessible to kids. 

I also joined Quelab today.  It’s a cooperatively run maker-space in Albuquerque.  The space is absolutely fantastic – 3D printers, wood-working tools, a sewing room, and a ton of other cool equipment.  Plus a community of people that are into making cool stuff and are willing to help others to acquire new skills. 

This membership also benefits me directly because I’m sure to get tons out of the space.  I also just love the idea of helping to support this amazing place.  Because it’s run by members, it’s very affordable.  They’re not looking to make a profit.  It’s just people that are looking to make cool things, to experiment, to have a community hub for like-minded people. 

I hope to find ways to give back to these places too.  By making that first step of joining these organizations, I put myself in a place to meet people and to be aware of when opportunities come up where I can contribute. 

I’ve also been going to a Python meetup group for the last few months.  This is another place I want to give back (Python is a programming language) .  I want to be a backup person for helping to host meetings.  I want to put together little presentations for the meetings to share and help myself and others learn.  Having a group that will help beginning programmers is a powerful thing.  Knowledge is power. 

So, I’m not being super ambitious with my goals to put a little more into my community.  I am being conscious of trying to be just a little more active, a little more involved, and put myself in a position to give just a little more back. 

My wish for the next year post-election is for more people to work just a little bit towards making their community be a reflection of the best America has to offer. 

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