When your Action Book Club gathers to talk about the book you’ve chosen, use these questions—or your own—to get the conversation flowing.
- Share one reason you love your neighborhood. Why is this important to you? What would you want to change about your community? Are there ways to make this happen?
- What does it mean to be a “good neighbor”? Talk about a time when you were upset by someone who wasn’t neighborly. Share a time when you were surprised or moved by the neighborliness of others.
- Have you ever volunteered in your community? Describe your experience. Did volunteering teach you new skills, allow you to meet new people, or change you as a person in any way?
- What are the signs of a strong, connected community? Why are strong communities important? What happens when community members feel isolated, unwelcome, or unheard?
- Do you feel your neighborhood is welcoming to residents with a range of ages, ethnicities, incomes, and abilities? If not, what could you do to help improve this?
Is your Action Book Club group ready to choose a project to improve your community? Be inspired by one of the activities from the list below or dream up another fitting project to make your neighborhood a better place. Tip: Don’t be afraid to start small!
- Write thank-you notes to neighbors and businesses in your community who are making a positive impact on where you live.
- Organize a community clean-up day, when your group can pick up trash, remove graffiti, and beautify your neighborhood.
- Donate food, money, or volunteer hours to a local food bank.
- Plant a community garden. At harvest time, invite everyone in the neighborhood to a garden party where they can meet new people, get to know each other, and take home free produce.
- Volunteer to do yard work, house painting, snow shoveling, and other chores for elderly members of your community. While you’re there, chat with these senior neighbors and find out more about them.
- Introduce yourself to three neighbors that you’ve never talked to before.
- Organize a clothing swap for kids in your area to trade their outgrown clothes.
- Collect new socks and donate them to a homeless shelter.
- Make or buy small gifts for children in local hospitals or family shelters. Or, sign up to help Project Linus, which has delivered more than six million handmade blankets to kids and families in need.
- Volunteer at local schools. Organize a book drive to fill school libraries with new books or a school-supply drive to fill classrooms with new materials.
- Visit the Habitat for Humanity website to find out if there is a chapter in your area. Your group may be able to help build a new house for a family going through a difficult time.
- Make “care packages” for people who are homeless and deliver them around your area. The packages could include items like bottled water, granola bars, and kind notes.
- Set up a free lemonade stand. Instead of charging money, ask people to tell you something interesting about themselves, something they love about your neighborhood, or something that needs to be improved.
- Organize a Meal Train for a new parent or someone struggling with illness.
- Donate books to local Little Free Libraries and leave thank-you notes for the owners.
- Build a Little Free Library book exchange to place in a community park or schoolyard (with permission).
- Do you have a Little Free Library yourself? Host an event at your Library, like a book swap, storytime for kids, poetry reading, or community get together.
Do you want to learn more about building community and giving back? Check out the book Make a Difference: The Ultimate Volunteer Handbook by Arthur Blaustein, a comprehensive collection of more than two hundred community service opportunities, as well as these online resources.
Top image courtesy of Creative Commons.