GOOD Declares Last Saturday in April as ‘Neighborday’


Neighborday 2013The website recently declared the last Saturday in April as “Neighborday”, a day to come together with your neighbors, get to know them better, and in turn, build a stronger community.

“We’re running a little social experiment called Neighborday,” said Hillary Newman, Senior Social Media and Community Manager at GOOD, during a Google+ Hangout recently.

The original goal was to sign up 1,000 people to do some sort of action in their neighborhoods, from something as simple as knocking on doors for making introductions, to actual parties or other events, she said.

More than 1,600 people in over 30 states, and even some foreign countries, pledged to take part in Neighborday. The new goal, according to Community Manager Hannah Wasserman, is to have people from all 50 states represented.

The GOOD managers shared event plans rolling in from participants, like barbecues, a neighborhood bike tour, and even an all-out broom ball tournament. Some folks will take smaller actions, like asking neighbors to share their phone numbers for a neighborhood contact list.

A Neighborday Toolkit is available to anyone who signs up, complete with downloadable templates for introduction cards, phone tree sign-up sheets, and event flyers. The toolkit takes a lighthearted, whimsical approach to getting people on board with “neighboring”.

“Print out one of these suckers, fill it out and slip it under the door of a neighbor who you barely know,” the toolkit says of the introduction, or “Ice Breaker”, cards. “Then head for the hills. We’re pretty sure you won’t end up with a restraining order and you might even make that awkward interaction in the elevator each morning a little less awkward.”

From the “Ice Breaker” level, there’s the “No-Nonsense Neighbor”, with an optional phone tree form, the “Neighboring Nut”, with party announcement flyers, and the “Social Inno-Neighbor”, for the creative sort of person who wants to come up with their own innovative gathering idea.

When GOOD announced Neighborday a few weeks ago, it questioned what it called the, “American mythology of rugged individualism, self-reliance, and the pioneer spirit” as being just that—myth. It asked people to forget the myth and instead engage in the art of neighboring.

“Is it possible that in the exhaustive pursuit of individual happiness, in the creating our own story, that we’ve forgotten our shared story, that we’ve forgotten everyone else?” GOOD asks in, “A Neighborday Manifesto: Because We’re Better Together”, on its website.

“Neighborday is about creating a new story. It’s about transcending the old story of self to create a new story of us. It’s about expanding our definition of self to include those who live above us, below us, and next to us. It’s a call to action of the most important kind: to let our neighbors in, and to build more self-reliant streets, blocks, and neighborhoods, together.”

In addition to holding an event or taking some sort of neighboring action, GOOD is also asking participants to help them record the event through social media, by using “#neighborday” with tweets and instagram photos. Submitting video footage is also encouraged.

To signup for Neighborday, go to the GOOD website. And tell me about it! I’m hoping to cover one or two Bay Area Neighborday events, or at least print photos you send me.