You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” —Angela Davis

February 24 is Pink Shirt Day. February 28 is Rare Disease Day. March 6 is World Lymphedema Day. World Glaucoma Week is March 7-13.

But wait, there’s more: Brain Awareness Week is March 15-21, National Poison Prevention Week is March 21-27 and World Water Day is March 22.

Do you ever feel like you can’t do enough to make a difference? That, since there are so many worthy causes in the world, your help doesn’t really matter?

Lisa Simpson looks in the mirror and says, "Okay, okay, don't get discouraged."

Consider this:

Global changes aren’t the magic result of some unbelievably efficient people simultaneously tackling all of the world’s issues. Global changes are what happens when everyone continually strives to make a difference in their community.

That means every small thing you do to improve your community is part of a global change.

That means your help does really matter.

An animation featuring eight people and the phrase, "your voice matters".

Here are seven ways you can change the world by making change in your community:

1. Volunteer

Not-for-profit organizations, especially local ones, rely on volunteers to fulfill their missions. Moreover, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to both an increased reliance on community services and a lack of volunteers.

The short version? Local not-for-profits need your help now more than ever.

Cartoon hands volunteer.

Volunteer Toronto is your one-stop shop for current and upcoming volunteer opportunities in the GTA. If you’re studying from another region, or self-isolating at home, check out Volunteer Canada for nationwide and virtual ways to lend a hand.

2. Donate

We get it—student budgets are tight. But, donations come in many non-monetary forms:

Two people hold hands in front of the phrase "Give back to move us all forward."

Giving is easier than it seems.

3. Shop locally

Got a sweet craving? Hit up a family-run bakery in your area! Planning to pamper yourself? Pick up personal care products just around the corner! In search of a personalized present? Call up your local calligrapher.

A black background with the phrase "Support small shop local."

Whatever you’re on the market for, your fellow Humber and UofGH students have businesses to supply your demand. And, when you shop locally, you help make your community more sustainable.

4. Look after your own

Community care, spearheaded by organizers like Nakita Valerio, encourages us to rethink our priorities around self-care. In Valerio’s words:

“Self-care is about the individual caring for their own basic physical needs, whereas community care is focused on the collective: taking care of people together, for everything from basic physical needs to psychological and even spiritual ones. Community care is a recognition of the undeniable cooperative and social nature of human beings and involves a commitment to reduce harm simply through being together.”

A laptop with the phrase "everyone needs support sometimes."

Basically, doing nice things for the people in your life helps strengthen the social bonds in your community. Making a difference can be as simple as making lunch for your roommate.

5. Use your voice

Staying informed is important, but using that information to educate people in your circle is how you make a change.

If you catch wind of a loved one spreading outdated, unfounded or incorrect information about a particular issue, seize the opportunity to sit down with them and explain the facts. It might provoke strong emotions, it might take more than one try and you might worry you’re not a high enough authority to change their mind—but silence is compliance.

A pair of lips with the phrase "Speak your mind even if your voice shakes."

The most difficult conversations are, often times, the most necessary ones.

6. Vote

When you pick who’s in charge, you pick where your money goes. You pick the messages your community is fed and you pick who delivers them.

From Monday, March 1 to Friday, March 5, you pick your 2021-2022 IGNITE Board of Directors.

Don't wait for the world to change; you can go vote now.

The Board of Directors is comprised of nine students across all three Humber and UofGH campuses and sits at the top of the IGNITE hierarchy. The Board makes decisions that make your student life easier—because we believe students know what students need best.

We also believe you should decide who distributes your student fees—so, every spring, you elect the students who sit on the board. To make voting safe and convenient, this year’s elections will be happening virtually.

Check the IGNITE website for information on this year’s candidates and cast your vote online between Monday, March 1, and Friday, March 5.

You can change your community by checking a box.

A cartoon hand checks a box.

Gear up for voting week by learning how a single ballot can change everything.

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