Ebony Hall, Director of Marketing & Communications
Becky Mattson created National Good Neighbor Day in the ’70s. According to the day’s website, by 1978, then-President Jimmy Carter had issued a proclamation calling on people “to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.” Organizers believe “good neighbors make great neighborhoods.” The day is observed on September 28 each year.
The National Good Neighbor Day website offers several tips on being a good neighbor, but the first one is simple: “It starts with hello.” Organizers refer to this “connection” as the first pillar of the Good Neighbor Mindset. When is the last time you introduced yourself to a new neighbor or even an old one?
To be a good neighbor you have to know your neighbors
Most of us do not know our neighbors. A 2018 Pew Research study found that 57% of Americans know only some of their neighbors. Just 26% said they know most of them. That same study also revealed social events with neighbors are rare. Fifty-eight percent said they never meet their neighbors at “parties or get-togethers.” Researchers say income influences the frequency of events as 53% “of Americans with annual household incomes of $75,000 say they have these gatherings, compared with about a third (36%) of those with incomes below $30,000.”
Other findings include:
Sixty-six percent of those surveyed would feel comfortable asking to leave a set of keys with them for emergencies
Forty percent of rural residents know all or most of their neighbors. Compare that to 24% of urban and 28% of suburban residents.
National Good Neighbor Day presents opportunity
National Good Neighbor Day allows us to think about how we grow neighborly relationships. In addition to connection, “invitation” is the next “pillar” of the Good Neighbor Mindset. You could invite your neighbors to gather in an effort of “celebration,” the third pillar.
“When it comes to birthdays, anniversaries, or milestone moments.. don’t miss out on congratulating them.”
The fourth pillar is “awareness,” keeping “your eyes and ears open” for safety’s sake. The fifth and final pillar is being available.
“Availability is the highest benefit of good neighbors,” the website reads. “When needed, show up to help and support others living around you.”