With the help of a Facebook group, members of the community have been gathering to make Faribault a better place.

Jaci Applegate, creator of the group Citizens in Action, which now has 244 members, decided that Faribault needed a positive place for community members to gather and take action.

Applegate said that other Facebook groups for Faribault had a negative air to them, something she wanted to stay away from.

“I saw a lot of negativity without action,” she said. “So I started my own group because I wanted to provide the community with a positive and proactive site.”

The idea for Citizens in Action originally started on another Faribault-driven Facebook page, said Angie Lynch, an admin on the Citizens in Action group. She said that she, Applegate, and a few others had wanted to set up a cleanup for Central Park. After posting in the group, they received a lot of criticism and little help, so she and Applegate split off to start Citizens in Action.

Lynch said that she hasn’t seen many places to volunteer in town, which was part of the inspiration for the group.

“It’s all about doing good things for the community and getting involved,” Lynch said.

Since the group has been started, members have gone out in the community to offer a helping hand.

“We get to meet a lot of people who feel the same way and want to bring the community back to the way it should be,” Applegate said.

The group has done a number of clean-ups around the city’s parks to help the community. Citizens in Action plans to continue the park cleanups through the summer and is looking at other options once the weather turns cold again. Tasks like raking and shoveling for people who are unable are a few of the things Applegate and members have come up with to help.

On the Facebook page, members share the work they have been doing to make Faribault a better place. Each of those posts is usually followed up by positive comments from other members and words of encouragement.

The group also has taken a liking to using #communitypride, the hashtag used by the Daily News to highlight positive work happening in Faribault, on their posts online. Members of Citizens in Action take pride in the Faribault community and hope to make it a better place with the work they’re doing.

“Yeah, we kinda kicked some major litter a-- today,” said group member Tim Kuntze after a park clean-up day. “Thanks to every one that helped. #communitypride You can’t spell community with out unity.”

Joining groups for social issues like Citizens in Action isn’t a new phenomenon. According to pewinternet.org, nearly 66 percent of all adults on social media are civically engaged in social or political issues. People are more likely to act or get involved online than those who are strictly offline in both of those issues, according to the study.

According to Aaron Smith at Pew Research Center, 33 percent of people on social media encourage others to participate in social and political issues, which is exactly the point of Citizens in Action.

“People complain and expect others to take care of it. They complain about the city council but no one goes,” said Angie Lynch. “We’re trying to become more involved and working towards a better, more positive community.”

Brittney covers education in Rice County. Reach her in Northfield at 507-645-1115, in Faribault at 333-3132, or follow her on Twitter @BrittneyNeset.

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