Observed every year on September 28th, National Good Neighbor Day is a reminder that we all play a role in strengthening our local communities. It began in 1978, when President Jimmy Carter designated National Good Neighbor Day as a celebration of “the bonds that cement our nation” and a reminder that caring for our neighbors is one of the most important things we can do.
Now more than ever, having a community to rely on is critical. COVID-19 continues to impact the way we all live together. Encouragingly, recent research polls have underlined how the uncertainty of today’s world has spurred a greater sense of solidarity in our local neighborhoods.
Seeking to explore how the pandemic might affect our moral perspectives, Times Opinion partnered with the Centre for Research on Fairness, Inequality and Rationality to survey 8,000 Americans during the crisis. The results revealed an increased solidarity with others – and a sharper focus on more vulnerable groups in society.
Making communities matter
Many of us have experienced something similar over the last 18 months: a stronger sense of neighborliness, with new relationships forged and communities brought closer together. People who previously shared only a zip code are now joining together in a variety of neighborhood activities. Others, less visibly, are choosing to dropoff supplies or simply shouting good wishes if they feel more comfortable maintaining social distance.
Social networking service Nextdoor partnered with leading researchers on a study looking into how small acts of kindness like these can reduce loneliness in neighborhoods. Participants were asked to perform simple acts, such as having regular contact with their neighbors, showing care and concern or contributing to a larger community effort, action, or activity.
The results revealed that just knowing six neighbors reduces the likelihood of feeling lonely and can lower depression, social anxiety, and even financial concerns. Those small acts could be as simple as a wave.
Little acts of kindness really do go a long way in times of crisis. So, if you’re looking for the best way to help out your local community right now, here are a few ideas to help you to be a good neighbor on National Good Neighbor Day.
Here at New York Life, the essence of our business is serving others. That’s why the New York Life Foundation actively fosters a culture of volunteerism and community involvement, inspiring real change through a wide array of programs and grants.
Our corporate volunteer program, Volunteers for Good, promotes opportunities for our workforce to serve the communities where they work and live. Giving time and expertise, we collaborate with hundreds of charitable organizations and help coordinate volunteer projects every year to address community needs across the country.
September is New York Life’s Month of Service which provides employees and agents with an opportunity to demonstrate who we are and how we live our values by giving back to our communities. During the pandemic our Foundation has found some innovative ways to get involved virtually as well as few that give offer a break from their computer monitors including Walk for a Cause. Four weekly "Walk for a Cause" events will support four different Foundation nonprofit partner organizations: The American College of Financial Services, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Afterschool Alliance,and First Book. There will also be virtual acts of kindness and civic engagement events that allow employess to earn a “Cause Card” for attending that they can donate to a charity of their choice as well as a wealth of other virtual volunteering opportunities.
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