How You Can Become a More “City-Centric” Person
PBS Western Reserve’s latest local production CITY CENTRIC explores six cities in our viewing area through the eyes of loyal community members who may inspire you with the ways they show up for their cities. These community members fill six unique roles: humanitarian, politician revitalizer, entrepreneur, entertainer and the future.
What does it mean to be a “city-centric” person? You’d recognize it in the character of local business owners, politicians, volunteers, and service workers — to be city-centric is to showcase the qualities of the city in which you live, work and play, but not in a stereotypical fashion.
We learned from CITY CENTRIC that there are many ways to embody the spirit of your community, but here are just a few.
There’s something truly special about a good or service you can’t get anywhere else but home. When you support local businesses and artists, you are giving back to your community. Not only does shopping locally stimulate the economy and offer job opportunities, but the tax revenue earned through local businesses supplements the local government’s investment in the community. Additionally, local businesses report giving back to more local charities and service organizations.
Plus, whenever you support local, you have the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting someone’s hard work and passion.
Tiffany Roper, our Akron-centric entrepreneur, has a motto at her company Eat Speak Love: “Small business is a BIG deal.”
If you’re looking for small businesses in the Greater Akron area, be sure to check out AROUND AKRON WITH BLUE GREEN for seven seasons worth of inspiration.
Join a community group or volunteer
Many people feel a desire to help their community in some way but don’t know where to start. You may try donating some of your time or resources to community groups such as senior centers, food banks or youth outreach programs.
It’s rewarding to meet the needs of your community alongside others. You gain a deeper perspective on your community when you make yourself available in areas of need, one that has the power to foster a spirit of generosity that any community would be stronger for having.
Get involved in local government
These days, our attention is often directed toward federal and state government, letting local government fall to the wayside or slip our minds.
In our “Kent” episode, council-at-large member Gwen Rosenberg explains, “Local government affects you more than any other type of government. It’s your local government that’s making laws and affecting your quality of life faster than any other [type of government].”
Local government includes the county, township and municipal levels. To become more active in your local government, you could go big and run for office, start small by voting regularly or have your voice heard by attending city council meetings, which are open to the public.
Visit area parks
Parks provide our cities with room for environmental growth, recreation to encourage healthier lifestyles and space to appreciate the beauty of the place you call home. Northeast Ohio is fortunate to have Ohio’s only national park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, alongside a long list of scenic state and local parks where you can get to know your city at its most natural.
Your community goes beyond your block — extend your community-minded spirit to the wildlife that surrounds you and you may find even more reason to show up for the place in which you live.
Take your hobby into the community
Whether you’re a writer, an avid crocheter, a performer, a basketball player or a painter, there’s no reason you have to explore your interests alone. Join a writing group at your local library, start a crochet club, attend improv practice or join a league at the YMCA. Whatever your hobby, there’s an avenue for you to connect with your community over a shared interest. If you’ve been unsuccessful in looking for a film club, that only means you have the possibility of starting one.
Tom Roberts of Hope Center for Arts and Technology told us in our “Sharon” episode, “One of my mentors said, ‘You’re only worth what you give away, but you can only give away what you have’ and I believe some of the things I enjoy doing, and performing, will bring joy to people’s lives. It allows me to connect with people in a real way.”
Delve into local history
Ed Albert, Alliance revitalizer and owner of Pocket Change Thrift & Antiques, believes that “History is what helps us revitalize what we have lost.”
The people who came before us made our cities what they are today. History is the narrative of our community, defining who we are and setting us on a course for the future. Pay a visit to your local historical society or check out a local history book from the library to root yourself in the story of your city.