Working for a company that has been serving our local community since 1958 instilled a desire in me to strengthen my ties within the community. As someone who grew up in a small town and was extremely involved, I knew I would have to find ways to become involved here to make the Grand Strand feel like my home.
At the start of 2022, I started researching different organizations I could get involved in that shared a mission I supported. Between networking, leadership, non-profit, and small business organizations, I have certainly found ways to fill up my plate. Below are some different ways I've rooted myself in our community and how I took the leap to get involved.
One of the best ways to get involved in the community is to surround yourself with other involved people. In 2022, I joined the Grand Strand Young professionals, a group of young people in our area who get together a few times a month to network with one another and expand their professionalism. In joining this group, I met many individuals focusing on increasing their leadership skills, who recommended I apply for one of our leadership organizations.
I've always been a bit of an overachiever, so I couldn't settle for joining just one leadership organization; I had to join them all. I've participated in the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Grand Strand Class, the Conway Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Conway Class, and Multiplying Good's Change Makers program. Aside from the networking and leadership training, one of the best parts of these leadership programs was the required community service, which introduced me to some of our area's non-profit organizations.
There are so many different non-profit and service organizations in our area that need volunteers. When trying to complete my leadership hours, I searched for ones I thought I would enjoy or where I felt I could make the most impact. I spent time volunteering for the local rotary clubs, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, New Directions homeless shelters, city beautification teams, and food pantries, to name a few. However, no matter where I donated my time, I was always overwhelmed by the amount the impact that volunteering had on me. As cliché as it sounds, giving back does impact you as much as the people you're helping. And in giving back, I found a true love for our community and an even stronger desire to make a difference in the lives of the people who live, work, and raise their families here.
Small Business Organization
After developing my newfound love for our community, I started looking for ways to meet and help the most people and better understand the needs of our community as a whole. Since I live in Conway, I decided to start there first and became an ambassador for the Conway Chamber. With my ambassadorship, I learned about all of the businesses and business owners in the Conway area and have helped assist them with their needs/put them in touch with the right people to help. It's been amazing to see all of the positive changes happening in our community that I've been a part of, encouraging me to continue doing more.
One of my favorite things about diving deep and becoming more rooted in our community is seeing how connected we all are to one another. The unexpected overlap and relationships from people in every group always amaze me. They are a perfect reminder that there are other people in our area looking to improve our community and become more connected, just like me.