With technology making it easier to communicate even with people across the globe, you would think it would be easy to make connections. However, despite increased connectivity through social media, many of us find ourselves feeling increasingly lonely and isolated from our communities. A computer or smartphone screen just can’t replace real face-to-face human interaction. If you find that you are struggling to fit in with your community, you aren’t alone, but there is a solution. To help you connect with the members of your community, below are 5 of the best ways for you to create a healthy relationship with your community.

1. Start or Participate in a Fundraiser

One way to unite with your community towards a common goal to help raise money to meet the community’s needs. To really connect with your community, you need to more than just passively donate your money—you need to get involved on the ground level. This can mean actually starting and executing a fundraiser. To do this, you have to get to know your community in order to understand what the fundraising needs are.

If you don’t think you know your community well enough to plan and execute a fundraiser that adequately serves your community’s needs, you can participate in an already existing fundraising event. You can take part in the planning process by getting together and brainstorm fundraising ideas for schools or other community spaces, or you can take part in the action phase by volunteering your time knocking on doors or making phone calls. By serving your community by helping raise money for important causes, you create a valued space for yourself to be included.

2. Volunteer

Another way to plug into your community in a way that promotes community improvement is by volunteering. This community-improvement opportunity is a more flexible option because you can volunteer in sectors that interest you more. For example, if you love business, you can volunteer at a dental seo practice. If you like helping people, you can volunteer at your local food bank or soup kitchen. Your community may surprise you with the number of volunteer options available, so take your time and do your research so that you can find the position that fits you best.

Volunteering can help you connect with your community because you are interacting with people who share common goals and interests. Volunteering also establishes you as a person who is dedicated to bettering the community, meaning people are more likely to depend on you and include you in other non-volunteer related activities. You’ll feel more included, and you will also feel satisfied that you are making a positive change in your community.

3. Join a Sport’s Team

A fun way to insert yourself into your community is joining a sports league. Recreational sports aren’t just for kids anymore—most communities also have a variety of teams for adults such as soccer, basketball, baseball, etc. If you have a favorite sport, try searching online or asking around your neighborhood to find a league to join. You will quickly find yourself making friends both on and off the field.

If you don’t currently know how to play any sports, all is not lost. More informal leagues are friendly to beginners, so if you are open to learning something new, you might just find your new passion. If you just aren’t interested in organized sports, you could also try joining a running or walking group, try yoga in the park, or join a dance class. You’ll meet new people who are supportive of your progress and you will improve your fitness at the same time.

4. Have a Block Party

Another fun, more social option for establishing a healthy relationship with your community is to organize a block party. This requires a lot of groundwork and gets you involved with your community in an organic way, as a successful block party can be a huge undertaking and requires community involvement. The first step is to connect with your neighbors and agree to collaborate on a block party.

Once your neighborhood is on the same page and you have double checked any legal requirements (some communities require permits), you can put together an informal committee and designate tasks such as food, drinks, music, decorations, announcing the event, and games. Try to keep it fun—encourage participants to bring their favorite dishes or teach everybody their favorite games. A successful block party is a great way to meet new people in your community and have fun together.

5. Use Social Media to Your Advantage

This may sound counterintuitive, but social media can be a valuable tool to meet people in real life and establish healthy relationships in your community. Going online can be a quick and easy way to find groups with similar interests, whether it’s volunteering, sports and exercise, or even a book club. This is only the first step, however.

The only way that social media can help you connect with your community in a healthy and meaningful way is if you take the next step: step outside of your house and start meeting people. Go to your neighbor’s house for that book club meeting, head to the park for that soccer match, etc. The more you get out of your house, the more you will start to feel included.

In short, although it’s completely normal in this day and age to feel isolated from your local community and struggle to connect, you aren’t doomed to feel that way forever. There are steps you can take to plug into your community, find your niche, and make friends. Some include participating in community improvement activities such as a fundraiser or a volunteer activity, while others center around having fun such as joining a sport’s team or throwing a block party. You can also use social media as a tool to connect with members of your local community with similar interests. The most important thing is you are getting out of your house and connecting in some way with your community.

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Amelia Hinn is a track coach by morning, teacher by day, and recipe blogger by night. Her passion for all things chocolaty pride flows within her work and recipes. Find her on Twitter