All over the country, community centers are bringing people together. Every center has its own approach, but each improves its community in its own significant way. Getting involved at your center can lead to better health, personal enrichment and new friendships.

Stay Fit

A community center can be a resource for healthy living. Facilities often include gymnasiums, exercise equipment and aquatic centers. Work out at the center, sign up for lessons or join an athletic league. There may also be opportunities to attend classes on healthy living topics. Childcare facilities are often available, so parents can leave their little ones in good hands while they exercise.

Enroll Your Kids in Programs

Youth programming is a highlight of many community centers. From preschool classes to teen fun nights, your center probably offers programs for kids of all ages. Look to your center for after-school care, summer camp sessions, early childhood education or teen outings. Through these programs, your children will get to know other kids in the community, learn new skills and engage in constructive activities.

Enrich Your Life

Community center programming isn’t just for kids. Most centers also have extensive offerings for adults. If you need to learn a practical skill, such as computer training, English as a second language or citizenship preparation, you may be able to find the help you need at your community center. If you’d like something more recreational in nature, consider cooking classes, dance lessons or craft instruction.

Get to Know Other Seniors

Programs for senior adults are feature of many centers. Some facilities hold regular recreational activities or serve daily meals. Others offer a variety of trips and tours that appeal to senior adults. Ride programs may assist seniors with transportation to the center or for errands and appointments.

Take in Culture

Whether you are a well-cultured individual or a fine arts novice, a community center can be a resource for expanding your cultural horizons. Yours might offer theater presentations, art galleries or film festivals. Instructional art classes are a popular offering, so if you want to learn painting or sculpture, check with your community center to see what they have in this area.

Rent the Facilities

If you are planning a meeting, party or family gathering, look into using your community center’s facilities. Residents of the center’s city may be able to rent the facilities at discounted rates. The center will have plenty of space for your event, as well as supplies, such as tables and chairs. Some even have in-house catering companies who can provide the food. Community center calendars often fill quickly, so book your date as early as possible.

Look for Volunteer Opportunities

The King will answer them, “Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. —Matthew 25:40

Community centers offer fulfilling volunteer roles that allow you to serve members of your town. Opportunities might involve working with children, seniors, people with disabilities or families. You could get involved with a food drive for the needy or a tutoring program for area students. Look for a volunteer role that complements your strengths and interests. Positions could be long-term or seasonal.

Another way to get involved at a community center is to help expand their offerings. If some of the programs mentioned here aren’t available in your municipality, consider how you could take an active role in starting one of them. It might involve bringing a proposal to the center’s board, coordinating fundraising, applying for grants or recruiting additional volunteers. Heading up a new project is never an easy undertaking, but the difference it can make in your community may make it worth the investment of your time and energy.

A community center can be the heart of a city, but its success depends on the involvement of the town’s residents. If you haven’t already become an active member of your community center, now is the time to look into what they have to offer. Your involvement will lead to a better center and also to a better you!

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