Community Involvement: Building Blocks for the Next Generation

NAMI Wisconsin is gearing up for our first ever young professional’s event, Advocates of Tomorrow. The event will take place on Thursday, October 26th in Madison, WI and will bring together a diverse group of individuals interested in adding their voice to the nonprofit sector. This free event will provide attendees with information about how to get involved with NAMI Wisconsin and many other nonprofit organizations. With the spirit of youth in mind, we’ve compiled the top five reasons to start early building a foundation for community involvement.

1. Skill Building
Community involvement allows youth to gain valuable, hands on skills that they may not get the opportunity to explore within a classroom setting. Working collaboratively as a group or independently on a specified task helps to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Community involvement may also offer opportunities for public speaking, writing, networking, mock interviewing and expanding one’s knowledge of technology.

2. Resume Building
These skills can be transferable to a resume when the time comes to enter the workforce. Today’s job market is competitive and finding paid employment can be especially challenging for youth who have no prior experience. Skills obtained from working closely on a project in the community are not only desired by employers, but highly sought out. An added bonus is being able to use a former boss or team leader as a reference in an interview.

3. Building Life Skills
Whether one is giving their time to a cause or helping out during an event or specific project, there is the opportunity for success and failure. It is in these experiences that youth develop resiliency, patience, work ethic, responsibility and the gratification of a job well done, just to name a few. Development of life skills at a young age helps to create a strong foundation for greater hurdles ahead, both in professional and personal relationships. 

4. Relationship Building
Getting involved in one’s community not only allows young professionals to connect with one another, but also people of all different ages and backgrounds. Just as young professionals learn from their elders, folks with years of experience working in the community have the opportunity to gain fresh perspectives and new ideas from younger generations.

5. Building a Sense of Belonging
The most valuable asset that can be gained from community involvement is the sense of belonging. The ability to say “I’m a part of something. I have a purpose. I make a difference” is simply irreplaceable.

For more information about the Advocates of Tomorrow event, please click here. You can also find us on Facebook or contact Jamie Gurgul, the Communications & Events Director at: 608-268-6000 or

Written by Crystal Hester, NAMI Wisconsin's Public Policy & Advocacy Director