This project will allow you to do some personal goal setting in regards to citizenship and community involvement. You should engage with both short- and long-term goals. In terms of how this assignment fits into your overall goals, I do understand that the future is yours to use as you see fit and that citizenship and community engagement may or may not be at the center of your personal or professional ambitions. As such, you will not be judged or graded on the loftiness or bigness of your community engagement plans — but I do expect that you will be able to apply the insights you have gained in this class to help you find ways to better navigate the communities you occupy, both now and in the future.
This exercise will hopefully be fun and relatively easy. It is a great way to solidify everything we have learned in the course and make the knowledge you have gained in the course work for you.
I encourage you to be authentic in the goals/personal commitments you make. Rather than racing through this assignment just to get the points, I encourage you to make this assignment your own so that you experience true value from it beyond the confines of this course.
DIRECTIONS: Set 3 to 5 goals – a mix or short- and long-term ones – that will help you become more effective in terms of citizenship and community involvement.
One or more of these goals can be a goal that you have for an entire community, provided it is a goal that you will personally connect with. In other words, you can form goals for how YOU wish to behave or grow — or you can articulate broader group-based goals that you’ll be involved in helping your community achieve. Most of you will probably have a mix individual and community goals.
For each goal, you must incorporate the following guidance into your written goals, making sure you articulate a specific, well defined, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-aware goals (Google “SMART goals” for more on this.) Specifically, each goal must be accompanied by the following background information:
1. Set Specific Goals. Your goal must be clear and well defined. For example, don’t just say, “I should probably vote more,” for your goal when you could say, “I will be an active participant in every presidential election by researching candidates and issues, learning about opposing viewpoints, keeping an open mind, and making a plan to vote to make sure that voting fits into my busy life on (or before) election day.”
2. Set Measurable Goals. Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. Articulate what will count as success in reaching your goal – maybe when it is achieved or maybe during steps along the way. For example, you could say, “I will have achieved the above goal if at any given time, I have researched, considered, discussed, planned and voted in the last presidential election.” Of course, you could amp up this goal by including midterm and special elections too.
3. Set Attainable Goals. Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. Attainable goals are more valuable than reach goals. For example, if you do not have a strong inclination or habit of voting and staying in touch with issues, a more realistic goal might be to commit to voting in the presidential elections which occur every four years. This wouldn’t preclude you from voting more frequently and you can always upsize your goals later after you have made some baby steps.
4. Set Relevant Goals. Be sure to provide a lot of detail regarding the relevance of each goal you set, including why it is important to you and why it is important or beneficial to a particular community.
5. Set Time-Bound Goals. Make sure that you deal with time in your goals The voting goal is somewhat easy in this regard, in that the timeline and schedule for elections is set externally and you either succeed or fail on schedule. Other goals will be more self-paced and open ended so it is important to specify your time frame for achieving the goal – and/or achieving specific milestones along the way. For example, if you wish to get involved with a specific community initiative or organization, you might set a timeline for yourself that (for example) within one month you will complete web research on the relevant initiatives/organizations, within three months you will attend a relevant recruitment or informational event or contact a knowledgeable leader, and within six months you will be a functioning volunteer or participant within the initiative or organization. Of course, many of you would anticipate a quicker timeline with a goal like this, but I encourage you too err on the side of giving yourself more time. Complications often arise –particularly when you are interacting with organizations and communities. For example, many community-based organizations are underfunded and understaffed. Many have a large turnaround of staff members and rely on volunteers to return calls and facilitate interaction with the general public.
6. Your goals should be AUTHENTIC. Don’t waste your own time coming up with plans you have no interest in implementing. Community and citizenship can be pursued in the smallest of ways—and sometimes these small gestures are very powerful. For example, if you have no real intention of voting and volunteering—or if these things are somehow not practical for you at the present time—spend some time thinking about easy things that you actually could do to become a better citizen or community member.
Some examples and additional details for those who might have trouble getting started with this assignment:
Choose self-improvements that you would actually feel good about doing and that would bring a clear benefit to you and those you care about. As we learned in this course, community begins at home and is all around us, so you could, for example, set a goal of doing something additional to be helpful in your household or neighborhood once per week. This could be something as simple as making time to ask about a roommate, family member, or significant other’s well-being and to attentively listen to what they have to say. It could be shoveling an elderly neighbor’s sidewalk if you get there first, or daring yourself to say “hi,” smile, and have eye contact with your neighbors whenever you cross paths—regardless of your history (or lack of history) with them. Set a goal to do it for a week and see what happens. You could set a goal to drive more safely and more slowly in residential areas; or to call your parents and/or grandparents more regularly; or to be more patient with your children; or politer and more engaged with the people who wait on you in fast food restaurants or stores.
Another type of goal is a gratitude goal in which you make a point to be more aware of the efforts and contributions of those your community and make a weekly (or daily or monthly) ritual of thanking someone you interact with for their specific contributions. How many of us, for example, thank our mail carrier or the receptionist at our work? Or our children’s teachers? Could we function well without them? Not really.
Another type of goal is a problem resolution goal. If you have a history of conflict with someone or an estrangement, perhaps you could set a goal that would help heal or reinitiate the connection. Some relationship problems are not interpersonal but based in groups. For example, if you have a racially segregated social network (most of us do), set a goal to branch out. Social media can be a great first step in connecting with people. Real-world connections are obviously great too.
Many of us have situational issues that bog us down or prevent us from being there for others to our full capacity. For example, if you have crushing credit card debt or are struggling in your classes, dealing with and worrying about those matters can be overwhelming and can get in the way of relationship building or even routine relationship maintenance. One of your community-building goals could be to take steps to get out from under whatever is bringing you down so that you can be more engaged as a citizen and community member.
I hope that all of you have at least one goal that involves continued learning and personal growth in terms of citizenship and community engagement. For example, you could set a goal to become more aware and mindful about an issue or community that you tend to ignore.
Finally, many people fail to understand the importance of self-care in being a good community member. If we are tired, or hungry, or stressed out, we will be much less effective in our communities and much less able to form mutually satisfying bonds with those around us. Bad habits or behaviors that drain us or bring us into contact with dangerous situations could find a place on a goal list of things to change. Conversely, having hobbies and interests that recharge you or bring you joy can help you be a happier and better community member that brings joy to and recharges others around them. Perhaps you could set a goal to explore a new activity or interest.
Feel free to steal any of these goals, as long as you make them your own. Best of luck with this assignment – and with all the ways that you will carry it into your life. Please reach out with any questions.
short term goal is go back to school for either my masters or mental health.
long term goal I want to be a police officer dealing with Children in broken homes also mentally ill people. also I want to start a non profit program called safe hugs that will be 24/7 accessible since abuse never has a time on it
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