Investing in our communities is so, so, so important. It’s something that we should be doing at all levels of daily life. Whether that be neighbors rallying behind a local goal, or a large-scale federal operation by the government to create stronger, more sustainable towns and cities. We should all have equal opportunity and equal access to public goods, but unless we actively work to raise the standard of living, we will never be truly equal.
It’s not a surprise that certain geographic areas of the country have better opportunities and access to things like education or health care. It’s unfortunate that our level of wealth strongly dictates our futures and correlates to our trajectories. However, we can try to level out the playing field through our investments.
By investing in our communities, especially ones of lower socio-economic status, we are directly influencing each individual’s future potential. Sometimes people are able to break out of the cyclical nature of their underserved environment, however, not everyone is able to. By investing more, we can help break this cycle and make it easier and more attainable.
It’s unsustainable to think that everyone can currently transform their environment and lifestyle. Every situation is different and every situation has challenges, some more than others. Just because there are people, like Alexis and Justin, who have surpassed what was expected of them, doesn’t mean we should sit idly and watch others struggle.
Instead, we should support them in any way that we possibly can. For example, by encouraging and importing money and resources, we are boosting the chances of providing a better education, which in turn can positively influence the community. Not only will current students understand more about the world, but they will be set up for better opportunities. Ones like higher education or occupations that they only ever saw on television.
Most people don’t forget where they came from. It’s a common virtue in a lot of people’s lives to pass on the favors that were given to them. To help foster and support the next generation. If we invest in our communities now, we can create a positive cycle. One where students graduate and then return to the community to teach what they’ve learned or donated resources. This positive cycle has the potential to be life-changing and perpetual.
I personally believe that we can all help to do better for our local communities. Even if it’s something so minuscule or non-monetary, I still think there are ways to help those around us. Something as simple as reading a book to the child who lives next door can be so valuable. By doing so, you might be helping to enhance their reading level, even if on a small-scale. Or you’re providing them comfort that they don’t necessarily find at home. This act, which is free of cost to you, is directly investing in your community. You are helping someone recognize their potential.
Easy tasks like these, and others, can help foster a brighter future. We have the capacity to boost our society. There are so many people who are capable of great things but aren’t given a chance or can never catch a break to pursue their interests. We need to help others get their break, we need to help give them their moment to shine and discover what is really out there for them. Not only will it allow for communities to grow and for science and technology to advance, but it will also allow for individuals to tell their stories.
Justin and Alexis are doing just this. By publishing their book, Redefining Normal: How Two Foster Kids Beat The Odds and Discovered, Healing, Happiness and Love, they are sharing their pasts to help spark a movement to better support underserved communities and foster children. They’ve been through the unimaginable and they’ve been able to maintain level-headedness, where instead of resentment they still aspire to help others. They recognize that people deserve to be helped.
For example, in the book, Alexis shares: “Our environments--our families, schools, neighborhoods, and communities--will not change unless we invest in them. I never want others to endure what I have and I am going to continue paving the way for others in any way that I can.”
Justin and Alexis have done amazing, they have accomplished and fought through so much, and now they are dedicating their careers to helping others. With The Scholarship Expert, they’re aiming to make higher education more accessible. With Redefining Normal, they are bringing light to the foster care system and encouraging positive change. With the Rose Empowerment Group, they are investing in communities directly, by encouraging and empowering disenfranchised communities.
This is what it means to invest in our communities. What are you going to do to help yours? Tell us in the comments!