Political/Civic Engagement: Why and How to Get Involved


July 2, 2015
by Emily Rabinowitz
It's July and we all know what that means: an abundance of red, white, and blue, fireworks bursting in the sky, parades lining the streets, patriotic anthems filling the air. In the thrill of such a classic celebration, it is easy for us to forget that which we are celebrating: freedom. This year, after the fireworks stop ringing in your ears, try participating in one of these volunteer ideas.

It's July and we all know what that means: an abundance of red, white, and blue, fireworks bursting in the sky, parades lining the streets, patriotic anthems filling the air. In the thrill of such a classic celebration, it is easy for us to forget that which we are celebrating: freedom. This year, after the fireworks stop ringing in your ears, try participating in one of these volunteer ideas.

Support Your Troops. One of the best ways to give back to your nation is to support the troops. The Veterans Association offers easy ways to get involved, like programs for volunteers at local veterans' homes and opportunities to welcome home the troops at your airport. Your local veterans' organizations may also need volunteers to decorate graves, host parades and events, and support disabled veterans. If you are part of a community service group such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, consider the many campaigns you can participate in from donating cell phones to sending care packages.

Participate in Politics. We are lucky to be preparing for an election year, which means that national, state and local campaigns are in need of volunteers to help with America's long-standing democratic traditions. The best way to get involved is to add your name to the email list; you will be invited to phone banks, rallies and events, and social media campaigns. (Find your congressmen here.) Even campaigning for local governors or state senators can be a great opportunity: I once received free tickets to see the First Lady speak at a campaign I was volunteering for!

Find a Cause. If you are not interested in supporting politicians, consider the local and national causes that might need your help. Organizations ranging from the Sierra Club (which focuses on environmental protection) to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention all engage in lobbying campaigns to enact legislation. Whether it’s nationally or locally, you can directly contribute to the laws you care about.

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