National Good Neighbor Day celebrates the importance of being a good neighbor while contributing to the welfare of one’s community and each other. Relationships with neighbors can often lead to close friendships and enhance the quality of our lives. That’s why National Good Neighbor Day, held annually on September 28, promotes good relationships between neighbors. As Mister Rogers would state in every one of his iconic PBS children’s television program: “Please, won’t you be…my neighbor?” Mr. Rogers encouraged inclusivity while promoting kindness, civility and the importance of the welfare of others. Spreading this attitude of caring contributes to the wellness and stability of every community and can balance the rampant uncivil and destructive behaviors of some citizens so often observed and reported through media outlets. We can all choose to treat each other with the dignity and respect essential to being Good Neighbors while increasing our quality of life with better health outcomes – mind, body and spirit.

How it Started

Did you know National Good Neighbor Day was officially created by Becky Mattson during the 1970s? It would then become official when U.S President Jimmy Carter issued Proclamation 4601 that made National Good Neighbors Day an official holiday.

Most Americans Don’t Know Their Neighbors

Few Americans know their neighbors very well, and fewer still engage with their neighbors in any meaningful way. According to a recent scientific study, approximately 57% of all Americans confess to only knowing some of their neighbors. Only 26% of them know most of their neighbors. Americans who are 65-years or older are more likely to know most of their neighbors and 23% of Americans under the age of 30 don’t know any of their neighbors. That makes it pretty hard for people to be good neighbors and to promote the positive qualities of a healthy community through connectiveness and caring for one another.

National Good Neighbor Day Activities

Host an event – National Good Neighbor Day is an excellent opportunity to throw a neighborhood block party. Put a committee of neighbors together and get set for an interesting meet and greet.

Invite them over – Spend some quality time with the people (geographically) closest to you. You might spend years looking out for each other and create a community of caring friends who you can depend on and trust. Great to know you are not alone and can call on a Good Neighbor when in need.

Get involved – Join your local neighborhood, HOA association or non-profit organization and donate your time to make the neighborhood a little better. You’ll probably make some lifelong friends.

They’re right next door – Aside from family and friends, relationships with neighbors are the closest ones we have. It’s best to keep neighborly relationships stress-free. Be a Good Neighbor by following the “Golden Rule” – do unto others as they would do unto you. This awareness of treating others as you want to be treated is the standard of all human interaction across the ages and… it works!

Opportunities to give – National Good Neighbor Day reminds us to be Good Neighbors by checking on those who live close to us and pitching in to help if we can. In our Vail area we have many retirees, seniors and those with disabilities who may live alone. Offering to do a welfare check or run errands may be critical to their survival and to know someone cares and shares in their well-being.

Children can be Good Neighbors too – Volunteer opportunities are abundant in the Vail Area. Many of our local churches and non-profit organizations have many ways for children to “Just Serve” by giving back and feel purposeful by connecting and contributing to their neighbors and the welfare of the community. It creates habits of caring and serving others for a lifetime of rewards that are immeasurable.

Good Neighbors come in all shapes and sizes – Many with diverse and interesting backgrounds. This presents great opportunities for leaning and understanding that “we are more alike than different.” Our uniqueness and “wanting to know more” exposes us to different cultures, histories and insights that encourages us in the final analyses to say: “Please won’t you be…My Good Neighbor?”

Please check the Vail web site for community updates, information and opportunities to “Just Serve” our Vail Area community and neighbors.
Have a great Good Neighbor Day everyday!

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Lucretia Free