National "Good Neighbor Day" Campaign Builds Belonging
September 28 is national Good Neighbor Day
Linda, Gerald, Stacey, Chris, Diane, Ron, Vicki, Lisa, Tim, Scotty, Joy, Ian, Zoe. What do those names have in common? They are Jennifer’s neighbors. Nothing else. They do not share age, ethnicity, opinion, career, education, or even social status. The thing they have in common is their address. And that has proved to be a wonderful thing. Why? Because when Jennifer and her family moved to the neighborhood 5 years ago, they didn’t know anyone. Their families lived far away, and they had two young children. Within an hour of the moving truck pulling up, Lisa stopped to say hello. Within two weeks, she had invited them for hot chocolate in her home with other neighbors. She started with hello and simply opened her home. And with those simple gestures, the family was connected.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels so connected. According to research compiled by the WIN (Wellbeing in the Nation) Network (see https://winnetwork.org/belonging-and-civic-muscle), the number of people feeling isolated has doubled since the 1980s to 40% today. In fact, the number of people who say they have no one to turn to during difficult times has tripled since 1985. Those are sobering statistics. Because the one thing we know those 40% have in common is that they have neighbors. Neighbors who can help them feel connected, just like Jennifer’s family did.
National Good Neighbor Day is September 28th. If you want to help increase connection where you live, the week of September 28th would be a great time to start. Whether you’re just beginning your neighboring journey or you want to take it to the next level, we invite you to celebrate.
Start with Hello
At www.NationalGoodNeighborDay.com you are encouraged to “Start with Hello.” On this page you can log your zip code into a map, take the neighboring pledge, download and share Good Neighbor Day social media posts, and get ideas on good neighboring. It always starts with hello.
Do an Act of Neighboring
Celebrate by doing an act of neighboring. Simple acts can make a big difference. You can create goody bags or mow the lawn for your neighbors. Cut flowers from your garden to share a small bouquet. Take a walk with a neighbor and pick up any trash you see. Invite neighbors over for an informal front yard social hour or BBQ. You can find more ideas and resources for Acts of Neighboring at www.hopefulneighborhood.org/good-neighbor-day.
Dream Big for Your Neighborhood
Your neighborhood is a unique place. It may have problems you can see, like broken streetlights or vacant homes. But in spite of those issues, it also has gifts. Gifts that you can use to dream big for your neighborhood. We encourage you to dream of how neighboring, connecting with all of the people near you, can help make your dreams come true. Great Lakes Urban has some great ideas for how you can grow in these ways where you live. Check out https://www.greatlakesurban.org/good-neighbor-resources.
Elizabeth, Aiden, Christina, Martha, Bob, Julie, Steve, Stephanie, Brandon. What do these names have in common? They are Eric’s neighbors. Like Jennifer’s, the main thing they share is an address. But together, they make up a community. Who are your neighbors?
Eric Smith, Great Lakes Urban & Jennifer Prophete, The Hopeful Neighborhood Project