Asian Americans generally believe in the strength of communities. Why? Perhaps because of a general belief that community connections and involvement provide for both security and opportunity.
According to findings from a newly released MassMutual research study:
- Seventy-two percent of the Asian Americans surveyed said that being part of a community was important to their “overall well-being.” What’s more, respondents indicated that they believe there is a crucial link between financial security and community participation.
- Asian Americans see communities as support systems in times of a crisis. Eighty percent of Asian Americans in the study believed that it was important to look out for one another, while 47 percent had supported someone in their community during a time of financial difficulty.
- Sixty percent of the Asian Americans surveyed were involved in communities related to their work or professional networks, 14 percent higher than the U.S. average.
In short, an overwhelming portion of Asian Americans view their community as a mutual support system that not only provides a safety net, but also a way of getting ahead.
It’s a point not lost on those in the community and those who serve it.
“From engaging the community with financial education and college planning seminars to advocating for the unique needs of Asian American business owners, giving back and building community are part of the fabric of our agency,” said Brian Lee, general agent for MassMutual Greater Los Angeles. “It is our way to contribute to the economic and financial advancement of our communities.”
What are the ways to get involved in a community?
Here are three tips for becoming more involved in your community from Dennis Duquette, MassMutual’s head of community responsibility and president of the MassMutual Foundation:
Reflect. Ask yourself: What are you passionate about? Where do you see a need in your local community? What causes really resonate with you? Where would you like to make a difference?
Research. Once you’ve identified your cause or area of focus, do some research to identify organizations that are doing good work in that area. Check out their websites. Visit Charity Navigator to find hundreds of Asian American organizations and see how those organizations are rated for the quality of services they deliver. And talk to people at the organization or those who are familiar with it to learn more.
Apply yourself. What value can you offer and what do you want to do? Consider all the possibilities to make an impact on the community while meeting your own aspirations. Perhaps general volunteer activities appeal to you, like cleaning up a public space, mentoring a child, or painting a school. Or you may want to apply particular skills to address a more strategic project where your expertise is needed, like technology assistance, financial management, legal services, or marketing. You also might consider a more formal role through participation on a board of directors for a non-profit or volunteer organization. You can find out more about all of these possibilities by speaking with the leadership of the outfits you are interested in. Important tip: Make sure you have a clear and mutual understanding with your organization of choice about expectations for your involvement.
Whatever you choose, remember that non-profit organizations welcome a wide-ranging array of contributions from volunteers. By doing a little homework up front, you can ensure that you will have a fulfilling volunteer experience and that your community will get the best of what you have to offer.
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