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“When one neighbor helps another, we strengthen our communities.” -Jennifer Pahlka
There’s no denying that it is a blessing to have a friendly neighborhood. Good neighbors always have a smile to share, are willing to lend a helping hand and ready to keep a watchful eye. But did you know that each year Americans know less and less about their neighbors? If you’ve been looking for a reason to get to know the people who live next door, you’re in luck! This Friday, September 28, is National Good Neighbor Day and we think there’s plenty of reasons to celebrate and build our communities.
National Good Neighbor Day was first created in the early 1970s by Becky Mattson, a community businesswoman in Lakeside, Montana. She realized the true importance of knowing your neighbor, so she and her husband along with Congressman Mike Mansfield worked with Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter to sign the proclamations for Good Neighbor Day. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter issued the following,
As our Nation struggles to build friendship among the peoples of this world, we are mindful that the noblest human concern is concern for others.
Understanding, love, and respect build cohesive families and communities. The same bonds cement our Nation, and the nations of the world.
For most of us, this sense of community is nurtured and expressed in our neighborhoods where we give each other an opportunity to share and feel part of a larger family.
If you’ve been wanting to get to know your neighbors, but have been unsure of the best ways to reach out, we have compiled a few ways to start the process:
- Host an outdoor barbecue
There’s no better way to get to know someone than over a smoky grill. Encourage neighbors to bring their own meat to fire up and a dish to pass, that way no one has to spend a lot of time preparing. Sometimes, spontaneity is the perfect way to break the ice.
- Bring over a plate of homemade treats
Who doesn’t love the taste of fresh, baked cookies? If you’d like to introduce yourself, consider making a couple of batches of cookies (one for your family and one for your neighbor to share.) If that seems too well planned and are looking for something more natural, look to your garden. The Wisconsin harvest is plentiful in early fall, so if your garden is gifting with you with a bountiful harvest, share the wealth!
- Lend a helping hand
One way to instantly build a connection is to lend a helping hand. If you see your neighbor, raking the first round of fallen leaves, go grab a rake and help make the job a little easier on him or her. Who knows they might return the favor down the road.
We know that it’s not always easy to put yourself out there, but a nice way to start building a relationship is with a smile and a wave.
Treat Good Neighbor Day as a great opportunity to say hello and start getting to know your neighbors. How will you celebrate the unofficial holiday? Let us know in the comments below.
Happy Good Neighbor Day from Lions Pride!