Latter-day Saint women have the ability, the opportunity, and the responsibility to improve the societies where they live. We can do this by reflecting the teachings of the gospel and by beginning in small ways to improve our communities. Elaine L. Jack, Relief Society general president, has said, “You show your love for the Lord daily as you support your husband, nurture children, care for parents, benefit neighbors, serve in your school, sit on your community council, and do much of the work of this world in and out of the home.”
Our experience in Church leadership prepares us for effective public activity. We learn how to organize events and delegate responsibility. Natural concern for our families encourages us to try to improve the areas in which we live.
Our Relief Society sisters of the past have left us a rich legacy of recognizing and solving community problems. Relief Society sisters were trained as nurses, midwives, and even doctors; they saved and purchased wheat to relieve hunger and provide seed; they organized “swat the fly” campaigns to improve health and sanitation; they worked to give women the right to vote in the United States. Our sisters have run for political office and served as public officials.
• What problems in my community would benefit from my concern?
Our sisters today are continuing to take interest in education, social services, and politics. Even our small efforts can influence our communities in significant ways.
Martha Isgett of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, volunteered to help in the classroom of each of her eight children. As she helped with classroom projects, she noticed that some of the children had difficulty finishing their work. Others were not used to cleaning up their projects. Martha could see that she could help these children by teaching them to work.
“I had done this at home with my six boys and two girls,” Martha said. “They all had required chores and knew we would have a schedule of work for them. When they finished they had rewards, but they weren’t allowed to play until their duties were complete. Now my children are older and are having more expected of them in school, in jobs, and on missions, because they have learned to be responsible at home.”
Martha served in the parent-teacher organizations in her school, in her county, and in the state. She has been able to share her ideas about how parents can help children succeed. Now, she works as a substitute teacher, where she continues to help children form good habits. “I want the children to come to school prepared and to take pride in their work. I know that parents at home can help by taking interest in their children’s assignments and encouraging home and school projects to be completed.”
Our community involvement need be no greater than we can handle at any one time, but we should always be aware of problems and be ready to help.
• What am I doing in my community? How else might I contribute?