I never have trouble getting out the door to go on a walk. And when I walk, I’m usually out half an hour to an hour (though I’ve been known to disappear for several-hour walks if the occasion is right). I think best when I’m walking. Because of this passion, I was filled with delight when I learned that taking walks in site could help me integrate.
When I walk around my community people see me. That’s the key thing—they can’t see me when I’m sitting at home—which means they are notified of my existence or reminded that I live in their community.
When I’m walking, I have the opportunity to say “hi” to each person I pass. Greeting people is a chance to connect with them and show my community how friendly I am. During the school year, I would time my walks with the hour that school let out. That way, I would be able to chat briefly with the majority of my students outside of the classroom.
I try to walk daily. People sometimes joke that they want to join me on my walks, I always welcome them, but to-date I still walk alone. I like to think that seeing me walk most days might inspire others to start walking too, even if they don’t end up walking with me.
It’s true that my walks won’t make or break my service. But, the longer I’m a volunteer, the more I realize that all the little things matter. They add up and together each little thing I do to get to know my community better makes me a more effective and integrated volunteer.