The villagers lived in one location for mutual protection and the sharing of resources. From these simple beginning we have evolved a very complex structure of governance and social services, and volunteer community action is a primary support of that structure. Basically it begins when somebody notices that something needs to be done or changed,
and that person decides to do something about it. It can be as simple as organizing a few people to paint a wall or as complicated as setting up a permanent community service organization. Of course, the more complex the project, the more people will be required and the more difficult it will be to organize.
In this paper we will examine the methodology and functioning of community action as it applies to North American culture, specifically the United States. The scope of this paper does not allow space to examine community action in other cultures, though there are most certainly many similarities. Other cultures and government systems also have many differences.
What motivates individuals to become volunteers or even to lead community action is different for each person. However, the best motivation is a desire to make their environment a better place to live. What makes any town or city a good place to live? The answer is really simple: healthy happy inhabitants. So we want to eliminate anything which damages health or happiness. This means we want to eliminate crime, health hazards in all their forms, substance abuse, severe poverty, pollution of all sorts and urban blight. Governments try to work on all of these, but local volunteer action is necessary also, because government simply cannot and should not do it all. We must remember that the more we expect government to do, the less freedom we will have. Therefore, we should all support volunteer based community action.