The 2020 election has come and gone. More than likely you have a range of emotions about what happened and why. Whether who you voted for made it into office or not, it is important to remember that you can still help make a difference in your community.

As we begin a New Year many of us find ourselves making New Year’s resolutions and trying to find ways to make improvements in our lives. What if this year instead of just focusing on our own personal goals, we make a commitment to creating positive change in our communities as well? With a new year comes new opportunities and a chance to engage with your local officials to advocate for the needs in your community.

Start by identifying an issue that needs addressing. Take time to do research and figure out what is being done about that issue. Are their groups trying to make a difference or proposals already in place that you can build off of? Locate other individuals in your community who have the same passion as you and build a team of people who can support your idea. Engage with your elected officials. This could be your mayor, city council members or local representatives.

Engagement can happen through a variety of outlets including email, phone calls, written notes, or scheduling an in person visit. Share how your community can benefit from your idea. If you’re able, include important details in your proposal such as anticipated cost and timeline, the more details the better. Show how truly invested you are in this idea and how it will benefit the lives of others.

Try to approach your conversations not as a member of a political party, but rather issue based. The well-being of others is an issue that crosses party lines and matters to all.

Here is to 2021 being a year of new, uplifting ideas for our Central Minnesota communities.

Need help identifying your local officials or assistance with ways to move forward? Please reach out to the Social Concerns department at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud.

Rebecca Fiedler is the rural life coordinator, Department of Social Concerns, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud.

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