As economic development director, I am a HUGE proponent of shopping local and patronizing any local business with roots here in Licking County – to the point where I can drive some of my colleagues nuts over where they shopped or what they could have purchased in Licking County.
However, recently – I have started reflecting on the concept of shopping local to include “investing local.” What does this mean? Well, with springtime upon us, it is time to start cleaning up, planting, and preparing our communities for a business summer and fall season. A quick Google or Facebook search highlights local churches, community non-profits, recreation boards, and government bodies hosting, sponsoring, or suggesting opportunities to keep our communities clean and enjoyable for all.
Beyond clean-up activities, I know that many local non-profits are always looking for new (local) partners. For me, this involves getting involved with our local United Way of Licking County’s 50 Voices, 50 Hands, 50 Days Campaign (along with some of my AMAZING friends and colleagues!) or collaborating with some awesome team members to restore the county’s Historic Jail always helps in re-charging my batteries after a (far too) long winter season. Not a fit for you? Then how about volunteering at our local Weathervane Playhouse? Big Brothers, Big Sisters? Licking County Humane Society? Or consider joining your local Kiwanis or Rotary or Lions clubs. Regardless of your interest, there is a local non-profit that could benefit from your time, experience, and energy.
Looking for a different type of opportunity? Then consider reaching out to your local municipality about any openings on their respective boards. Citizenry engagement is a major component of local government and many townships, villages, and cities are looking for full or alternate members for their respective zoning boards, planning boards, and parks boards (among many others).
A local, healthy economy is the culmination of many factors. Competitive jobs that span all levels of work experience and need, responsive local government, a healthy housing market, quality local education opportunities, and a vibrant non-profit community all lend themselves to ensuring that our local community members and businesses will continue to thrive here in Licking County. As the seasons change and the days grow longer, please consider investing some of your time, energy, and resources to ensuring that Licking County remains a community where we all can live, work, learn, play, and invest.
Strum is the Executive Director of Grow Licking County.
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