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Updated: December 12, 2022 know how

Six ways to get involved in your community

Domenica Perrone is director of community engagement and volunteering at Clark University, in Worcester. Reach her at

When moving to a new place, becoming a part of your community is essential to building a happy and healthy life. Yes, making friends and professional networking are really important parts of that, but I would argue those are added bonuses. The true joy in community building is much deeper. It’s solidarity, mutual aid, civic engagement, power, and resilience.

Where do you start, though? As someone who moved to Worcester six years ago, in my mid-20s, I recognize engaging in a new community can feel overwhelming. I am constantly thinking about on-ramps for people to become engaged in the Worcester community.

1. Volunteer, and get your co-workers to join! Volunteer by yourself, with your family and friends, or organize a volunteer day through your place of work! Worcester has tons of opportunities for large and smaller groups. Or go solo! Some organizations to consider teaming up with include Worcester Green Corps, El Buen Samaritano Food Pantry, and Worcester Housing Authority.

2. Attend a cultural event near you. Worcester has an incredibly diverse cultural community, and with that comes delicious food, meaningful art, festivals, parades, flag raisings, and more. Every summer, attend the Worcester Caribbean American Carnival with your family, visit an exhibit for local artists organized by the BIPOC artist collaborative El Salon, or see a local play at the BrickBox Theater. And remember to diversify your experiences. Worcester’s diverse cultural scene is grassroots, inspiring, and always a good time!

3. Door knock for a candidate or ballot question. Civic engagement is so important. If you have an opinion about public health, housing, development, or racial equity, then you have a responsibility to be civically engaged. A great way to do this is by registering to vote, voting, door knocking for a local candidate or ballot question, and attending community forums.

4. Donate to a cause. Is time truly a constraint? Donating money, clothing, food, or other supplies are excellent ways to support causes. And it can be very easy! For instance: donate fresh produce or canned goods to one of Worcester’s four community fridges; holiday foods to local soup kitchens, food pantries, or schools; winter clothing to local shelters or transitional homes. Also, donate money! I donate to Living in Freedom Together as it is a survivor-led organization committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation.

5. Join a board or commission. There are 43 vacancies listed on the City of Worcester’s website for commissions. By getting involved with nonprofit boards or commissions, you are committing your time to where you can influence decision-making processes.

6. Support a local business. Last but not least, it’s a no brainer: Support local businesses! Going to eat out? Go to a new restaurant owned by Worcester locals, such as Mint Kitchen & Bar. Need to get some holiday gifts? Swing by the Worcester Public Market to get sustainability made candles from K Sense Co. or a nice wine from Canal District Wines. Looking for a gift-card for a secret Santa at work? A gift card from Glazy Susan will be most appreciated! Once you start, you will be absolutely astounded by the talent and entrepreneurship Worcester has to offer. It’s diverse, unique, cultural, and, to be honest, it’s downright delicious!

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