Your May Challenge | #investinyourcommunity

May’s Monthly Challenge

At Living Matters we strive to serve and live differently. One way we will be doing that this year is by engaging in monthly challenges as a team that pushes us to do just this.

We challenge you to join us! Be sure to share your experience on social media, using the hashtag #livingmatterschallenge and tagging @livingmattersrealestate so we can follow along and be inspired!

March was all about #showingappreciation and April was about #StartAnew practice in your life.

Our monthly challenge for May is #investinyourcommunity. It is a call to action to help us build bridges and not to live in silos. With our area being one of the highest in terms of gentrification, how do we maintain a sense of community? The question must then be asked, what is community to you?

What does community mean to you?

What does a community represent and how does one go about building their community? Is community what you arrived and found established in your neighborhood or is community what you seek to build after you have moved in? Asking these questions is in no way an attempt to judge, but a tool for us to probe our own beliefs. For some, community might not even be linked to the geographical area they currently call home. Their community might be the close bonds they have developed at work or through their extracurricular activities. For others community might not even be something that they care to invest in due to their stay being temporary. Alternately, we have long term dwellers who might have learned to survive in their neighborhood and have become apathetic to issues within their neighborhood. Ultimately, whether a person's stay is long term or temporary, can we imagine the benefit for us all if we invest in our neighborhood or local geographical community in a real and authentic feet on the ground way? What if we were unified as neighbors instead of being confrontational or judgmental? What if we actually got to know our neighbors and looked out for each other? What if we sought to understand the traditions and culture of a neighborhood we move into and find a way to support but not shape to our individual version of a community? What if our diversity was celebrated and not a tool used to divide?

Our area is diverse and attracts residents of all socioeconomic levels. If you are a low or middle income resident, might resentment have crept in and stopped you from celebrating some changes that could benefit your neighborhood. If you are in a higher socioeconomic bracket, might a sense of entitlement have crept in leading to a belief that you are better than someone who is not in your socioeconomic bracket or that you are entitled to a certain kind of neighborhood? Again, this is not an attempt to judge because aspiring to live in a certain area, zip code or building is perfectly fine. We all aspire for a better life situation that we work hard for. But because we have achieved it, does it lead us to think we are now not of the problems that still exist within a neighborhood we call home? We all want to be safe, but do we invest our time in neighborhood watches or community policing? Do we volunteer time or resources to afterschool programs to help kids stay constructively occupied after school? If there is a large number of homeless residents in our neighborhoods, do we actively engage in ways to help a fellow human being get out of a homeless situation? If there is a mental health problem in our neighborhoods, do we seek to actively help or do we shun any responsibility to actively help because we think it is someone else's job? Do we know if our elderly neighbors could use help getting groceries? Do we know if our neighbor who is going through a health crisis might need a ride to a doctor's appointment or a kind word of support? Do we support the local small businesses that might have shaped a  neighborhood for years or do we only patronize chain or corporate establishments? What if we saw past class, color and creed and respected each other as equal humans. What if we realized that regardless of whether our stay is temporary or long term, a community is built on respecting what existed and finding shared ways to co-exist. Could you imagine the potential of what community could mean and do for us? We challenge you to #investinyourcommunity and be the change you seek. We all go about it differently and no one way in better than the other. Please share with us how you #investinyourcommunity and let's keep the dialogue flowing.