What are you doing on Saturday?
No worries if your calendar is blank that day –– you’ve got a plan now.
Every third Sunday in September, neighbors around the world come together for National Neighborhood Day, a grassroots event that “inspires, builds, and sustains the neighborhood relationships that provide the foundation for civic action and the building of stronger, more caring and effective communities.”
No matter where you live, or what you consider a neighborhood, you’re in the right place to participate.
Founder of National Neighborhood Day, Lorne Adrain, gave us the scoop on NND’s backstory and how to make it a reality in your neighborhood.
When did you found National Neighborhood Day? What inspired you to create it?
I created the non-profit organization in 2004, but had been promoting the idea starting in 2002. I was inspired by a combination of things. My family and I had moved to a new neighborhood, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and the belief that if more neighbors in New Orleans had relationships, fewer elderly would have been left alone in their homes. My 5-year-old daughter Grace died suddenly and needed all the emotional/spiritual help I could find.
What is the purpose or outcome of NND? What do you want people to take away from the gatherings?
The simple mission is greater connectedness, which enables, inspires and facilitates so many positive social and civic actions. It is so simple and so good for people to connect with each other. They then come to know and care and share with each other.
Who can throw a gathering? Are there any requirements, registration, etc. to be a part of it?
Anyone! No registration at all, and there are lots of ideas, tools, templates on the website.
Looking back, what are the most memorable gatherings, or those that stand out? Have you thrown any gatherings yourself?
I have hosted many gatherings in my diverse neighborhood and had community police, fire, and other services join us. I have visited many others and love the creative ideas so many people have experimented with.
Where have neighborhood gatherings taken place?
All over the country and around the world, which has been wonderful to see such good ripples!
What is your advice for neighborhood organizers who want to have a gathering?
Make it easy, make it pot-luck, use the neighbor list spreadsheet template, and share the list with all the neighbors. They will use it to deepen their own connections and provide additional leadership in the neighborhood.
Anything else you would like to add?
In a time of increasing virtual connection/focus and polarization, we need to find ways to increase face-to-face connectedness where we can listen to each other, accept each other, understand each other, work together to learn and improve and find common ground.
Ready to start your own NND gathering? Get the planning guide here.
Let's change the world.
Who wrote this?
Gina Edwards, Impact Explorer founder and lover of all pun jokes, making a positive change in the world, Stephen Colbert, Jif Peanut Butter, and staying inside on rainy days. Order may vary.