I think it is important that we all put something back into the community and try to live my life so that I can do that. However, I take a very broad view of community, and I see community as spreading from work colleagues and neighbours, to a national and even international level. After all - we are all neighbours in this modern age of fast, long distance transport.
Here are examples of things I have done, which I consider to have some community benefit.
When I was 18 I helped run a local scout group for a year or so. I had been a member of the scouting movement since I was 7 - and enjoyed helping to run the group. But work commitments got in the way. :( its difficult to make a regular commitment to Thursday or Friday evenings when you are on a constantly changing shift system.
When I went to college, I got very involved in Student politics. I did everything from arrange the entertainment on one of the residential sites to speaking on issues, that I thought important, at the NUS national conference. Through this I was asked to be a member of the local council consultative committees in Wolverhampton, the town where I was based. Eventually I was elected as Chair of my Union and Convenor for the NUS region, both offices I was proud to hold.
At about the same time, I spent some time working on the adventure playgrounds in Wolverhampton.
During this time I got involved with the Sealed Knot, a UK Charity which aims to make people more aware of the 17th century Civil War fought across Britain. We take money at the gate to our battle re-enactments and distribute it to other charitable causes - so I see this as winning twice :) You can find out more about the Sealed Knot on my SK pages.
Later I moved into teaching in Further Education Colleges, a job I consider having some community value in its own right. While teaching I was both an active member of my trade union (OK you Americans - let your breath out again) and served on many college wide committees. I was a member of academic and study boards, involved in staff development and induction committees, and was eventually asked to chair the IT Board of Study at Oxford College. I helped write the Equal Opportunity policy for both of the colleges that I worked for, and also formed a national organisation called The Forum for IT Education. It campaigned to get lecturers views on IT training heard by the establishment and because of this I asked to be an advisor to the ITITO, a government body set up to review national IT education standards.
I served four years as a town councillor in Wantage in Oxfordshire, and I still think it one of the most pleasant places I have lived. During that time, I was vice chair of the Leisure and Recreation committee and Chaired the VE Day Celebration Working Party, which put on a street party to help the people of Wantage and the surrounding villages celebrate 50 years of peace in Europe since the second War. I was also invited to serve on the local museum committee for a couple of years, which turned out to be a role that gave me particular pleasure.
More recently, I have spent two years working full time for Amnesty International. While I was managing the UK section's IT systems, my work enabled the campaigners and communicators to do their work better, and therefore contributed to the cause of international Human Rights.
Currently I represent my local area as a councilor on Bradwell Parish Council.