Return to Main Site
Canada 150 Photo Mosaic

150 Small Things that Can Make a Difference in Your Community!

  1. Take a walk, don’t drive, through your community. Seeing things in slow motion allows you to see the details of community life.
  2. Mow the grass for someone who can’t…. or for anyone just because.
  3. Pick one spot in town and volunteer to plant some flowers there.
  4. Go watch kids playing sports even though you don’t have any kids playing. Cheer them on. Take some friends.
  5. Volunteer. Anywhere. It doesn’t matter where. Just do it.
  6. Smile at someone you don’t know.
  7. Seek out someone new to your community and make them feel welcome.
  8. Attend a festival, parade or rodeo and invite some friends from out of town to join you.
  9. Find a business in town you haven’t been to and go check it out.
  10. Have coffee in the coffee shop and share stories about good things around the community.
  11. Make a list of small things that could be fixed in your community/neighbourhood, and go fix the easiest one. Take some friends if you need a hand, or want company.
  12. Write a letter to the editor about something you love about your community.
  13. Instead of buying something you don’t need, find a local charity, not-for-profit or club to donate that money to.
  14. Resolve to not be negative about anything for one day. Then two. Then try a week. Watch your attitude change.
  15. Participate in a planning session about your community’s future.
  16. Before you leave town to shop, consider the impact on a local business that employs local people.
  17. Beautify the front of your own house – mow the lawn regularly, paint, or plant flowers.
  18. Organize a summer block party.
  19. Turn off the electronics for a day and go outside.
  20. Make a donation to KidSport (www.kidsportcanada.ca) to support local kids in sports who need a financial helping hand.
  21. Carry the groceries out for someone.
  22. Offer to take someone’s cherries, grapes, or apples, make jam/jelly out of them and give it back to them. They will love you forever.
  23. Buy a park bench in someone else’s name as a memorial.
  24. Plant a memorial tree.
  25. Go to a Council meeting.
  26. Participate in a community spring or fall clean-up.
  27. Do more than say hi and ask your neighbour how they are doing. Really get to know them. Listen more. Talk less.
  28. Leave a note on a neighbour’s door and tell them what you appreciate about them.
  29. Use an annual event (e.g. Halloween) and drop an entertaining basket of goodies on a random neighbour’s doorstep.
  30. Offer to check on a neighbour’s house while they are away.
  31. Have a progressive dinner (where one neighbour is responsible for each of appetizer, entrée, and desert) with 2-3 neighbours.
  32. Cook for a sick neighbour.
  33. Pet your neighbour’s dog or cat.
  34. Give your neighbour’s kid a ride to the bus.
  35. Have a neighbourhood potluck summer BBQ.
  36. Get the neighbourhood together and re-paint the outside of the “common” fences that are visible from your community’s roadways.
  37. Bake bread and give it to the neighbour.
  38. Mow the neighbour’s lawn without them knowing.
  39. Allow a neighbour to have their party guests park on your driveway.
  40. Go to the annual parade.
  41. Play street hockey with the kids on the street.
  42. Visit a senior’s home and have a senior tell you some stories. “Wise” stories provide perspective.
  43. Coach.
  44. Wave at cars that pass you by while out for a walk.
  45. Put a community, province, or Canada flag on your porch.
  46. Have a celebrate life party (e.g. decade milestones) for a friend in your community.
  47. Pull five weeds in every park you visit, every time you visit.
  48. Help build a community garden.
  49. Play a team sport.
  50. Start a good news Facebook page for your community.
  51. Together with a small group of friends, offer a “fix up” day to a senior living at home who can use some home maintenance help.
  52. Start/visit a craft market for local folks who create art or make local crafts or food products.
  53. Commit a random act of kindness per day.
  54. Give a talk to a community group on your area of expertise.
  55. Donate books to the library.
  56. Hug the next friend you meet on a walking path.
  57. Have a picnic in the park.
  58. Buy a piece of local art.
  59. Organize/participate in a community yard sale.
  60. Make mulled wine for parents on Halloween patrol with their kids.
  61. Put a thank you note on the community mailbox for something great you’ve seen in the neighbourhood.
  62. Start a neighbourhood or community website that matches people with home fix-it skills, and people in need of a helping hand.
  63. Get a library membership.
  64. Buy coffee for the next in line at the fast food place.
  65. Open a door for others while out shopping.
  66. Take pictures of your community, and see the beautiful details we often overlook.
  67. Be brave enough to tell someone who is angry at your community that they need to channel it constructively or they risk becoming a destructive influence.
  68. Sit on a park bench and appreciate the benefit of watching your community in slow motion.
  69. Put a tent in your yard and camp overnight. Feel an outdoor connection to community outside the walls of a house or online environment.
  70. Set up a book borrowing box (e.g. novels) in your front yard next to the street.
  71. Organize in/participate in a Lemonade Day organized to support youth entrepreneurship.
  72. Create a small business. Do something – even if it’s very small scale – that you are passionate about.
  73. Settle an old score and make friends again with someone in your community you have been in conflict with.
  74. Make a donation to the local food bank.
  75. Plant a riot of flowers in your yard. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Earth laughs in flowers.”
  76. Visit the cemetery. Tend to a grave. Think about the lives lived. Feel the convergence of history, and your own urgency to live your life with deep meaning and purpose
  77. Skip rocks with others on water in your community.
  78. Start a new weekend tradition in the form of an activity you do in your community.
  79. Put something whimsical in your yard that is creative and unusual.
  80. Pick up the first five pieces of garbage you see around town, every time you go out.
  81. Go on a walk around your community and say hi to everyone you pass.
  82. Leave a “get better” sign outside the hospital or medical clinic.
  83. Sing O Canada when it’s played at a local event. Sing it, don’t just mouth it.
  84. Save your bottles for the local sports team going door to door.
  85. Put a birdhouse in the yard.
  86. Build a cool snowman in the park and leave it there.
  87. When you take your bottle returns back, donate the money to a local sports group.
  88. Start a local chapter of linkAges – http://innovation.pamf.org/linkages/ – a cross-generational service exchange inspired by the idea that everyone has something to offer – from guitar lessons, to being a Scrabble partner, or giving someone a ride to the doctor’s office.
  89. Start/participate in a community co-op to invest in a local business.
  90. For our Calgary folks, start a chapter of Awesome Calgary (www.awesomecalgary.org – think Dragon’s Den at small scale) to support local entrepreneurs.
  91. Help create a youth entrepreneurship program.
  92. Help a senior put up their Xmas lights.
  93. Keep your grass cut nicely.
  94. Tell a coach why they matter to your child.
  95. Wave to the kids on the school bus.
  96. Let someone in front of you in the line in the store.
  97. Slow down and let someone in front of you while driving.
  98. Hand-write a thank you note about something great in the neighbourhood and tape it to the door of the home doing great things.
  99. Water a tree outside your fence on public property in a dry season.
  100. Leave a 50% tip for someone you really enjoyed the service of.
  101. Donate your books to the library.
  102. Vote in the next municipal election.
  103. Say something nice about your community in social media.
  104. Start a YAY!(community) initiative like the City of Airdrie did (http://www.airdrieecho.com/2017/01/18/getting-positive-with-yay-airdrie) to have people celebrate great things they love about their community.
  105. Tell other people in your community about the coolest things to do that you have discovered.
  106. Go to the school Christmas concert or play…even if you don’t have kids or they have left school.
  107. Go to one new store downtown a month.
  108. Pick up after your pet. Always.
  109. Eat somewhere you’ve never eaten before.
  110. Help build a memorial playground.
  111. Give someone a ride to somewhere they need to go.
  112. Visit that friend you haven’t seen in forever.
  113. Go on a bike ride with your kids. See the world as they see it.
  114. Organize a class to go visit a senior’s home. Or get your child to do it on a regular basis. History provides perspective.
  115. Next Christmas, make your gifts the delivery of gifts to those in need, or volunteering at a women’s or homeless shelter.
  116. Go to local art exhibits/performing arts events.
  117. Participate in local government by responding to surveys and providing constructive opinions. Tell others to do the same. Have the silent majority who love their community and want the best for it rule the roost over the more vocal negative voices that hold communities back.
  118. Wish retail folks a great day when your purchase is done.
  119. When you feel angry about something or someone in your community…breathe…and let it go.
  120. Mentor someone or a group tapping a skill you have.
  121. Organize a baby shower.
  122. Next time you leave your community tell someone what you like about your community.
  123. Don’t litter.
  124. Learn the names of all the people on your street.
  125. Put up Xmas lights every year. Make them bigger and brighter every year.
  126. Start/contribute to a Block Watch effort.
  127. Sit on your front porch instead of the backyard.
  128. Say hi to the neighbour’s kids when you see them.
  129. For a senior still in their home, make a meal for them once a week.
  130. If your dog is barking, bring it inside for the sake of the neighbours.
  131. Ask yourself what legacy you want to leave for your community, and make it happen.
  132. Next time you see a volunteer, including a councillor, thank them for their time and effort on behalf of their community.
  133. Nominate someone for a citizen of the year award.
  134. Make a financial donation to the next community organization you encounter…whatever it is.
  135. Read the local newspaper/online media outlet every week.
  136. Evaluate the appearance of your house from the street. Do one small thing to make it more attractive.
  137. Phone the local school and ask if they need any volunteer help.
  138. Write (hand-written) a letter to your local municipal government office with a great idea you have that would make a positive difference.
  139. Thank your community for the quality of its water…most of the world doesn’t have it.
  140. Create a community bucket list of 20 things you would love to do in your community, then get busy doing them.
  141. Make it a goal to navigate every piece of pathway in your community.
  142. Make sure you go to the funerals of people you have met…families will feel your support in their soul and the community is better for the connectivity.
  143. Give the kids out-grown skates or soccer shoes to a kid who could use them.
  144. Get out of the kingdom of your yard. Visit places where people hang out.
  145. Frame a favourite picture of your community and put it on a wall in your house. It will make you feel more proud.
  146. Have a Christmas campfire with the neighbour.
  147. Make someone laugh.
  148. Find the “sweet spot” in your community…your favourite place to be in your community. And take care of it like the generations to come need to see it the same way.
  149. Think about how privileged you are to live in your community, and in Canada. Pay it forward. Consume less. Recycle more. Economize on water. Become more energy efficient. Think big about community building while doing the small things that matter. Love. Serve others. And in so doing, push your community to be a national and global role model that is a guidepost for others.
  150. Invent a giant dome for your community so winters aren’t winter. OK well maybe that’s not possible, but there’s nothing saying your creative idea can’t change your community for the better….

Happy Canada Day!