A Moment with the Manager – Civic Engagement
By Natalie M. Zeigler, Hartsville City Manager
As an All-America City, we have a responsibility and a momentum to push forward on the success that we have already accomplished. This recognition is not intended for those that have completely resolved all of their community’s issues. It is intended for a community such as ours that recognizes the progress we have made and the work that lies ahead. Our value is in our collaboration and our citizen engagement. In remembering this moment, I urge everyone to build on this recognition continuing their efforts and become more civically engaged in the community.
Civic engagement can be in multiple forms. One such form is being involved in your neighborhood and taking on project. Always be ready to lend a hand to someone in need. You do not have to be a part of a large organization to better the community. The Hartsville Police Department has sponsored a community liaison division – Hartsville Safe Communities which can be a valuable resource for those wishing to better their neighborhood.
Multiple local organizations exist in the City that provide volunteer opportunities for residents and those passionate about a specific issue whether it is the youth, the homeless, or our downtown merchants. To name a few of these local organizations, the Boys and Girls Club, Carolina Kids, Habitat for Humanity, Main Street Hartsville, PULSE mentoring program, and many more provide such volunteer opportunities. However, it is not enough to only volunteer in order to be civically engaged. Being vocally positive about issues that are of concern to you is equally important. Sharing ideas with these organizations and local government is key to the collaborative nature that our community is so proud to possess.
Additionally, share your concerns and ideas with local organizations and with city staff or elected officials. Volunteering for local organizations are also a great way to be involved with the community. It is so simple for us to focus only on the problems that our community still faces. Block out the pessimism and find ways to change these issues. Don’t add to the negativity or blame others. Be a positive force for the community. Make a difference for the betterment of those around you.
Civic engagement is not confined by age, race, or education. The All-America City delegation was made up primarily of diverse young residents of the community. They are a prime example of civic engagement in the community. Each youth delegate found their passion and their place in the community, focusing on the betterment of themselves and the City.
Take their example, find your voice, find your issue, and find your path to solving this issue. Our community can only be an All-America City if it works together to see it succeed.
Natalie Zeigler is the City Manager of Hartsville. For more information, call City Hall at 843-383-3015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.