It’s a brand new year and a time when most American’s pause to evaluate what is working in their lives, what they want more or less of and how to make those changes happen in 2018. At UNL, our mission is to help under-served youth become successful leaders. We hope that part of your new year’s resolutions includes continuing to or starting to support your community. We have three simple ways to help you get started.

1. Time – consider giving your time to support a local nonprofit by volunteering. Pick one half day each month (or more) and volunteer your time. There are soup kitchens, food pantries, school supply distribution centers, retirement homes, after school reading and homework programs, animal shelters, and many more. Find something that speaks to you and put it on your calendar. For example, earmark the first Wednesday morning of each month for volunteer work or find out when your local public station does their fund drives and put it on your calendar. In most cities, you can identify volunteer opportunities through

2. Talent – instead of donating your time, perhaps you have a talent that you can offer to support a local nonprofit. Are you an artist that can donate a piece of work the charity can sell? Do you have a particular talent for public speaking that you can document and share with a nonprofit supporting career growth? Or, are an amazing baker that can host a bake sale and donate the proceeds to your charity of choice? Charity does not always have to be a nonprofit. Consider helping a neighbor that you know is in need – something as simple as shopping or cooking for an elderly neighbor. Let your talent shine to support a cause that matters to you.

3. Treasure – if time and talent are on short supply, a monetary donation is always helpful. One of the best things you can do to support your charity of choice is to contribute to them financially. Most programs rely on donations to provide the services they offer and a little can go a long way. However you choose to get involved in your community, the pay-offs extend beyond your actions. According to Harvard Professor of Public Policy Lisa Berkman, social isolation is a significant factor in longevity. If you’re socially isolated, you may experience poor health and a shorter lifespan. Connecting to your community helps them and may help you. All the best with all of your new year’s resolutions