A couple months ago we are incredibly honored to have been awarded the 2019 Community Achievement Award from the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois. It means so much to us because being engaged in this place we love and building better lives for everyone who lives here is baked into our company culture. This is the stuff that matters – seeing our neighbors thrive, teaching the next generation how to be good citizens, shopping from local business owners, knowing our farmers, and supporting everyone’s efforts to do what they love. There are myriad ways to be more involved, to dig deeper, and get back so much when you put a little into where you live. Here are just a few ideas for ways to get involved.
Visit the Monroe County Farmers’ Market every Thursday from 3 to 6pm from April through October. It is held in the parking lot of Schnucks at 1000 Columbia Center in Columbia. The benefits are numerous. You get the freshest, most nutritious and delicious foods, you support your neighbors in their work that is positive for the environment, you get outside in the sunshine, you interact with other folks from town, and you add to the common good. It’s a win all around!
Being part of a community means pitching in during bad times as well as good. When Monroe County Emergency Management sent out a call for volunteers to help with sandbagging in Valmeyer and other flood-afflicted areas, lots of people came out to help. Many will remember the efforts made back in 1993, and the ways that a grassroots organization of citizens working hard to save homes, businesses, families, and pets creates a stronger community. Your ties matter. Your work matters. Your hands are helping hands, and we are all responsible for each other. Do what you can, physically and emotionally.
If physicality is not your forte, you can always show up for a city council meeting. Listen, attend, and make your voice heard on town issues that are important to you. The more you learn about your civic responsibility, the more satisfaction you will find in good governance. We are lucky to live in a participatory democracy and to have the ear of those we’ve elected. You will find others who are actively engaged in local politics, make friends with neighbors you never knew, and influence the way we live now and for generations to come. Make your mark!
Being in community isn’t all city ordinances and packing sand. Sometimes all you have to do it sit back and drink. Lots of little breweries and distilleries have been popping up lately in our neck of the woods. Take your business to a place like Stubborn German Brewing Company and get to know your beer makers. These guys are making real German beer in a real German town, and we love it. Spend a Saturday afternoon sampling, tasting, and finding a new favorite. When you put money into the local economy, you are helping friends to succeed. Bring your own picnic and hang out with friends old and new.
Maybe you haven’t joined a club since high school. But it’s never too late to find an organization that would love to have you as a member. The local Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, and Jaycees are always working on some great project to improve the quality of life in Columbia, Waterloo, and Millstadt. Whether you are a small business owner, a parent, a senior citizen, or a person who is brand new to our area, there’s a group working to make a difference that can use a person just like you! We all have gifts, and each one of us brings something important to the ongoing project of improving life in Southern Illinois.
AtMandy McGuire Group, we are committed to community. Visit us to live where you love!