April 27th is Neighborday. Want to get involved?
For us at NEIGHBORISTA! every day is Neighborday, of course. But the good folks at GOOD — an online community network dedicated to building collaborative tools for positive social change — are hoping to encourage stratospheric levels of neighborliness this Saturday, April 27, with a party they expect will reach nearly 2,000 neighborhoods worldwide.
So why a Neighborday? GOOD cites a Pew survey finding that “roughly 60 percent of Americans don’t know all of their neighbors” and additional research from Nextdoor, a neighborhood community social network, indicating that “just 16 percent of us trust all of our neighbors and a quarter of us barely speak to our neighbors.” Those are some dispiriting findings.
“We’re losing out on meaningful connections and resources – collaborators, friends, emergency contacts,” says Ben Goldhirsch, CEO of GOOD. Thus, Neighborday, to combat community apathy.
Now, I have to confess a personal disaffection for the “Day.” Valentine’s Day. Walk to School Day. Talk Like a Pirate Day. Loving someone or walking to school should be worth celebrating more than once a year, shouldn’t it, matey? Arr! But Neighborday holds a little more promise because it requires an action, not just punching at a “Like” button. So rather than simply saying, “Today I like neighbors!” GOOD is encouraging people to do something to show it.
What kind of something? Pretty much any activity that will get you out into your community, to meet those folks down the street or down the hall, to get you engaged with a real world social network that’s going on right outside your door. Maybe it’s saying howdy to someone you haven’t met. Maybe it’s organizing a picnic or a potluck or a performance.
In South L.A. neighbors are cleaning up a vacant lot. In Seattle’s Capitol Hill, Janae Hagen and her friends are planning a free lemonade stand on the sidewalk along an underground subway construction site whose temporary walls have turned into a massive community art project. Dez Pressey in Calgary is bringing together her neighbors to create the largest picnic blanket of all time in the field behind their homes, using all the blankets they have.
They’re collecting ideas online at Good.is/neighborday, where you can find out what’s going on in your neighborhood or add your own activity.
5 Ways to Get Involved in Neighborday
1. Sign up to celebrate Neighborday this year (4/27/13) by going here. Will you host a dinner? Start a lemonade stand? Stage a barn raising? It should be a day of block parties, yard sales, trading stuff, and barbecues. It should happen on sidewalks, front lawns, and on side streets. No traveling allowed; the idea is to know and enjoy the company of your immediate neighbors.
2. While Neighborday is on your mind, let your friends know about it. Share it over email, on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, MySpace, wherever you like spreading the word.
3. Go outside and talk to your neighbors! Check out some ideas here to help you get to know your neighbors and plan your Neighborday party.
4. Document your neighboring. Capture video, take photos, share thoughts and experiences. Tweet and Instagram with #neighborday and if you want to contribute to our collaborative Neighborday Documentary, click this link for ideas as to the kind of material we’re looking for.
5. Keep up the momentum. Use Neighborday as a catalyst for making an impact in your neighborhood and community. Now that you know each other – or know each other better – start a community garden, host a neighborhood cleanup, establish a neighborhood watch…whatever it is, make sure Neighboring becomes a part of the other 364 days of the year. Progress on community projects like this can be posted to the www.good.is/neighboring hub throughout the year.
Remember, the important thing isn’t Neighborday itself, but taking the small steps to connect with your community. It isn’t necessarily a difficult thing; in fact it may feel downright good. See what you’re inspired to do this Saturday, next week, next month and beyond.