Volunteering at a food bank. Bringing cookies to your neighbor. Donating school supplies. You have the power to do good things. It's part of being a good neighbor. But, did you know, there's a national observance dedicated to actions like these? It's called Good Neighbor Day.
National Good Neighbor Day
Observed annually on the 28th of September, Good Neighbor Day is a reminder we all play a role in strengthening communities. It began in 1978, when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed September 28th as National Good Neighbor Day by stating:
“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 this world.”
This year, and every year — the observance provides an opportunity to give back.
We all want to make a difference. Here are six ideas to get started:
- Find the issues that move you. Look for relatable causes that also inspire you to act.
- Be honest about what you can offer. Use your skills, hobbies or abilities to help others.
- Try something new. If you just want to help, however you can, look for causes that stretch you a bit.
- Resist overcommitting. Keep from burning out by making time for friends, family and yourself.
- Bring your friends. Inviting friends and neighbors to volunteer is fun and can help the cause even more.
- Be smart about it. Do some research to see how your time and energy make an impact.
Retirement volunteer ideas
Consider some of these ways to help your neighborhood and your community benefit from your skills and years of experience.
- Share what you know. Offer to teach a class or workshop at a community center or the public library. This way, others can gain the benefit of your knowledge.
- Welcome newcomers. If your community is the type of place that retirees flock to, help new arrivals feel welcome by sharing insider tips. If you feel comfortable doing so, invite them for dinner or introduce them to others whose company they might enjoy.
- Mow someone's lawn. If you're able, there's always a neighbor who could use a helping hand with their property, whether it's the homebound elderly gentleman next door or the single, working mom across the street.
- Volunteer. Find an organization whose cause is close to your heart and dive in.
- Join a board. There are likely lots of nonprofits in your community that could use your professional expertise to help them further their mission.
- Become a mentor. Even if you've left the workforce, you still have a lot of insights to impart to younger professionals in your field.
- Tutor kids. Help a struggling student master academic skills and set them on the path to success.
- Get civic. Are there potholes on your street that need fixing? An intersection that could use a traffic light? Don't wait for others to take the initiative. Approach your local city or town council to get the ball rolling.
- Start a club. If there's an activity you love and you know others who do, too, start a club so you can share your passions, such as hiking, politics, bridge or knitting.
- Support the schools. Though your children may be grown, continue to help the schools in your community by volunteering in the classroom and other ways.
Whatever you do, have a Happy Good Neighbor Day!