Civic engagement is the act of positively impacting our neighborhoods and communities by combining skills, values, motivation, and knowledge to bring about change. Civic engagement includes informal and formal activities like voting and lobbying for politicians, volunteering, or communicating with elected officials. Other choices might include researching ballot initiatives, completing census forms, or coaching a community’s sports team.
There are four basic civic engagement tenets: civic action, civic duty, civic skills, and social cohesion. Civic action involves participating in activities like learning a community service and volunteering. Civic duty or service includes the ability and motivation to make worthwhile contributions to society. Civic skills cover involvement in politics, societal issues, and democracy. Social cohesion involves bonding with others in the community by doing good in the neighborhood and building bonds with community members to improve education, public safety, and the environment.
Democracy is based on civic engagement. When you are engaged from a civil perspective, you give the people in the community, including yourself, the power to improve their neighborhoods. When you participate in civic engagement, you can champion causes that are important to you and help those in your community who are dealing with various financial, social, or educational issues.
There are several ways you can get put civic engagement into action. You can volunteer as an election worker to supervise the polls on election day or during the early voting period. Those who want to participate in civic duty should also get to know their local representatives and stay in touch with them for lobbying purposes. As a community volunteer, you can partner with representatives to bring attention to important community matters.
When you’re committed to civic engagement, you will likely attend city council meetings regularly. During the sessions, you can learn about community issues and get the latest details on social and educational initiatives that local politicians are planning.
Volunteering in any capacity in the community is also a part of civic engagement. Whether you’re helping to give out food during the holidays, reading to children at the local library, or starting a program to recycle or clean up trash in your community, you can make a big difference in your neighborhood.