Lend a Helping Hand for Social Change in 2012

Political unrest, environmental crises and economic challenges on a global scale practically defined 2011. The Arab Spring ousted three iron-fisted rulers, a deadly earthquake led to mass radiation exposure in Japan and Occupy Wall Street emerged to be a historical, internationally united protest. The year 2011 seized the idea of social change and ran with it.

Will that momentum continue throughout 2012? All signs point to yes, and Walden University’s recent Social Change Impact Report confirms the trend. The results indicate the importance of social change and reveal that people are taking action now and will continue to do so in the future. The survey shows that more than nine in 10 Americans (92 percent) have taken action to engage in positive social change in the past year and more than half of them are committed to engaging in future positive change as individuals acting on their own or in informal groups.

“Around the world, people are ‘thinking globally and acting locally,’” notes Jonathan Kaplan, president of Walden University. “People have a strong belief in their own power to effect positive social change and make a difference.”

The Social Change Impact Report also states that nearly nine in 10 adults in the U.S. (88 percent) believe the best way to have an impact on the world is to make change at the local level. At a time when many families and organizations are vulnerable, and fewer resources are available to support the socioeconomic challenges that exist, individuals now more than ever have the opportunity to make a difference in their communities and beyond.

Walden University offers five practical tips to encourage citizens to participate in 2012.

1.    Think about what kind of positive social change you want to effect.

2.    Assess what specific skills or expertise you can offer to help address a particular need.

3.    Connect your passion and skills with your commitment to serve.

4.    Research ways your workplace can get involved in the community.

5.    Use a resource that can match you with an organization that needs your skills.

To see more details from the Social Change Impact Report, visit www.WaldenU.edu/impactreport, and to find volunteer opportunities near you, visit www.WaldenU.edu/servicenetwork.

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