My parents have always said that I am a natural born leader, and looking back I have shown the traits of one. I started playing tackle football in the 6th grade. My dad coached every athletic team I have been on (except high school teams).
I remember one game distinctively out of every other game. I played defensive end. We were getting crushed on the right side of the line, and there was this one kid who was scared to make a tackle. Time after time we kept getting beat. I ran up to my dad and told him I could take over for the kid. My dad asked me multiple times, "Are you sure you want to go in there?" Confidently, I replied yes. And sure enough, I stopped the kid multiple times and made the offense stop running the ball on my side. At the time, I really didn't think what I did showed leadership, but as I got older I soon realized it did. So when it comes up to be a leader, the man that's capable of getting the job done should do it with 110 percent effort.
Regarding local civic activity, I'm a firm believer in giving back to the community that you live in. It not only benefits your community by improving the overall quality of life and the atmosphere of it, but it also benefits you as well. It betters you as a person and allows you to gain new skills and knowledge that you can use in other aspects of your life. I've done a lot of volunteer work in Cleveland with my mom, Dawn Harris, since I was a little kid. Just like the football story, I didn't understand the reality of it back then, but doing all those activities with her bettered me as a person and made me the respectable young man that I am today.
Focusing on how to get people involved in civic activities, there are tons of possibilities to accomplish this task, but these suggestions are particularly effective. Certain events can be held highlighting main issues such as protecting the environment or political agendas. Anything that people can relate to or impacts them the most is what is going to get them to want to participate or help out in any way that they can.
When looking at target demographics, it's obvious that certain strategies are going to work on some more than others. I believe that in order to get high schoolers and college students involved, you must implement certain incentives that would get them to participate if they are truly uninterested. I know that saying this defeats the purpose of wanting to participate in civic activities, but hear me out. I was a high schooler, and I know their likes and dislikes. If the city of Cleveland offered certain scholarships or internships that required service, that would reel them in for sure. Not only are they benefiting the community and providing change, but they are also benefiting their future at the same time. Think about all the experiences and connections that they would be making in the process. They might even meet their future boss in the process. Overall, anything that can benefit them is a plus in their book.
If you think about, it's important that we have the greatest influence on a younger audience anyway. They are the future, and it is extremely vital that we prepare them for taking care of our great city to make sure that it shines even brighter than it already does. Now, this might be a stretch, but we can have activities at events in order to gain their attention as well. Picture this: a "Jeopardy!"-style game with prizes where you talk about politics or issues within the community. BBQ get-togethers and other activities that bring the community together. I could honestly see all these ideas working to the point where I feel like I could actually plan all of these for the city.
All these ideas and so many more only just scratch the surface. Just imagine all the good that can come from this. It's a win-win situation where everybody benefits. But most importantly, the city benefits from all of this, and that's what truly matters.