Whether you live in a small town or a big city, you can find a wide variety of resources in your own backyard. Your local businesses and organizations may offer classes, gatherings and services that are well suited to your needs. But how do you go about finding your community resources? We’ve gathered the top 10 ways to discover community-based resources in your area!
What’s a Community Resource? A community resource is a program, service, or organization in the community that exists to help people meet their needs. Examples include community centers, libraries, and schools. These hubs often offer services and programs geared towards the general community, but community resources can also be designed to accommodate specific needs such as programs for seniors or services for people with developmental learning disabilities.
*Community Resources often receive funding so they can be offered for free or at the lowest possible cost. If you cannot afford a program, try calling the organization directly to see if any discounts are available.
#1. Local Community Centers
Community Centers are a fantastic resource in getting to know the programs and services you have available to you as a community member. You may also hear them referred to as recreation centers, activity centers, arenas, cultural centers, etc.
Check out your local community center and ask for a schedule of events or individualized programs they offer.
Some examples of what your local community center may offer:
- Community Meetups and Gatherings (ex. Monthly Parent Meetup)
- Programs (ex. Language Program for New Immigrants)
- Workshops (ex. Resume Building Workshop)
- Activities and Classes (ex. Beginner Tai Chi Class, Swim Lessons)
A library can be the perfect place to explore your educational, professional, or recreational interests. Libraries not only hold thousands of books and online resources to answer your questions, they also regularly organize helpful programs and classes - often for free or for a low library membership fee.
Some examples of what your local library may offer:
- Clubs and Programs (ex. Ages 10-12 Reading Club)
- Drop-in Resources (ex. Drop-in Computer Lab)
- Events (ex. Movie Screening)
#3. Schools and School Boards
Community events and supports are often organized by or hosted at your local public school. Contact the school or school board’s administration and ask for a list of what is available in your community.
Some examples of what your local school board may offer:
- Skills Development Programs (ex. Hairstyling, Kitchen Skills)
- Arts Initiatives and Performances (ex. Spring Choir Recital)
- Language Training (ex. English for New Immigrants)
- Volunteer Opportunities (ex. Food Drives, Fundraisers)
#4. Faith-Based Communities
Many faith-based communities offer resources to their members, including clubs, volunteer groups, classes, and more. Getting involved with your synagogue, mosque, church or any other faith-based community can help connect you to these resources. Check for posters in your local faith-based gathering space or consider speaking directly to someone working for the organization to help point you in the right direction.
Some examples of what your faith-based community may offer:
- Volunteer Opportunities (ex. Food Drive, Fundraiser)
- Arts initiatives and Performances (ex. Christmas Pageant)
- One-on-one Support and Guidance (ex. Counselling)
#5. Community Boards
Some local grocery stores, small businesses, or coffee shops will have community boards in their establishments where groups, organizations, or clubs can post information. Look for a local community board to see what’s happening in your area.
Some examples of what you might find on a local community board:
- Local Events (ex. Karaoke Nights)
- Information on Clubs and Gatherings (ex. Gardening Club Meetup)
- Postings of Local Services (ex. Babysitter Services)
#6. Non-Profit Organizations
Local not-for-profit organizations offer so many different types of programs and supports—from after-school programs to personalized planning—that trying to summarize them would be near impossible! Nonprofits are also regularly looking for volunteers who can help with their mission, which is a great way to gain experience and get involved in your community.
Reach out to your local nonprofits to find what supports and opportunities they might have available to you. If you’re having trouble locating one in your community, contact the nearest nonprofit organization you can find and see if they can help point you to resources in your area.
#7. Social Media/Online Platforms
Facebook groups, message boards, and various online platforms can be a super easy way to find community supports near you. Community groups often use these platforms to make announcements, share experiences, or communicate with each other. These groups and online spaces will usually have the most up-to-date information.
#8. Ask People You Know
If you already have friends or family in the area, you can ask if they know of any community resources that you could access. Getting personal experience and opinions, as well as a direct contact to these recreational programs, can be the fastest route to finding the resources that are best suited for your unique needs and interests.
#9. Online Community Databases
Community databases list the programs, classes, and organizations that offer resources in a community.
Find a list of resources in your community by contacting your local Aging and Disability Resources Center if you’re a resident of the US, or by contacting 211.ca if you’re a resident of Canada.
Some examples of what you might find on your online community database:
- Contact Information for Local Organizations
- Volunteer and Job Opportunities
- A List of Local Programs
- Event Calendars
#10. Resident's Associations
Get involved in your local Resident’s Association to discover all the things your community offers. If you feel like certain resources are missing in your community, becoming a member of your local Resident’s Association can help you advocate for change and share your ideas. Search online for “Residents Association” along with the name of your town or city or ask your local government office to direct you to the resident’s association in your area.
We hope this list will help you strengthen your ties to your community, navigate those community resources that are there to support you, or even advocate for building more resources in your community! The list doesn’t stop here. Your community is unique and may offer additional resources that haven’t been mentioned. The best way to get to know the resources in your area is always by getting out there and actively engaging with your community.
For LifeCourseOnline users: don’t forget to list the community resources on your dashboard map or support star as you discover them!
LifeCourseOnline is a platform that can help you identify and and organize your supports, from community resources to your personal support network.
To learn more, head over to our main site at lifecourseonline.com