Take a walk through your neighborhood and while you might not notice anything out of the ordinary, solutions to the country’s problems could be right in front of you.
That’s right, in order to make big changes people are thinking local and the results are inspiring similar programs across the country.
Here, a few examples of how communities are taking the lead.
Started in 2005 in Bainbridge, Washington, the online platform Buy Nothing allows people to post goods they need and things they want to give away. However, what sets it apart is that everything listed on the online marketplace is free — nothing is bought or sold — making it the perfect resource for poor and low-income families in need. Available items and services include household goods, childcare, cooking classes and garden produce.
Another community engaging in service exchanges is Kingston, N.Y. For the past four years, musicians, artists and medical professionals have united at the three-day O+ Festival. The attraction: free medical care in exchange for free music and art. Its origins date back to 2010 when a dentist wondered whether his favorite band would play for him for free in exhcange for no-cost dental care. The answer? Yes. From there, the festival was born. Four years later, the most recent O+ Festival provided 99 dental appointments and 350 hours of health services for 80 artists and musicians that might not have received the care otherwise.
“Building a community around O+ speaks to the simple idea of compassion and being part of a community,” Joe Concra, a painter who co-founded the festival, tells YES! Magazine. “Because we’ve become accustomed to huge companies providing everything we need, we forget to look to our neighbors to see what they can offer.”
In Kalamazoo, Mich., citizens are redesigning how to pay for higher education through the Kalamazoo Promise. Funded entirely by private donors, the program pays up to 100 percent tuition to any public Michigan college or university for students that have been enrolled in the Kalamazoo public school district since ninth grade. As a result of the program, there has been a 24 percent increase in enrollment in the school district, and students are earning higher test scores and GPAs. And this past June, the program added 15 Michigan private liberal arts colleges to the list of eligible institutions of enrollment.
To check out additional programs like this, click here.
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