Strengthening neighborhoods often comes down to the simple habit of performing neighborly acts of care, love, and attention, again and again over time.
This approachable list from The Hopeful Neighborhood Project gives us some practical ways to tap into the abundance surrounding us in our neighborhoods and neighbors, while opening pathways to share our own abundance in return.
25 Ways to Love Your Neighborhood
1. Introduce yourself to your neighbors. A simple handshake and introduction can break down any awkwardness and show investment in your community.
2. Learn your neighbors’ names. How many of us know the names of the people who live around us? Addressing someone by their name is a powerful form of inclusion and acknowledgment.
3. Get your neighbors’ contact information. Taking the step to get contact information shows that you are committed to helping if they need something, and that you are there for each other.
4. Write a thank you note to a community leader. Sending a handwritten note to someone doing good work in your community will go a long way in encouraging them.
5. Put together welcome kits for new neighbors. When you notice someone new in the neighborhood, welcome them with a note and if you are able, add a homemade treat or a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop.
6. Do your best to remove snow or other storm debris quickly. Making the neighborhood walkable is important. If you are able, help neighbors do the same.
7. Join neighborhood organizations. Neighborhood organizations often have helpful communication and opportunities for connection.
8. Support neighborhood restaurants and businesses. Buying local helps the neighborhood thrive and helps support the local people who own those businesses. Local businesses are also great places to run into neighbors, learn people’s names, and feel like you belong someplace.
9. Restock your Little Free Library. If your neighborhood has a Little Free Library or something similar, consider regularly restocking it.
10. When you walk around the neighborhood, take notice. Pay attention to the goings on in the neighborhood and take notice of anything suspicious or dangerous. This could be anything from an unnoticed hornet’s nest in a low-hanging tree to a smashed-in window. Talk to your neighbors and, if appropriate, report to the proper authorities.
11. Hand out good Halloween treats. Kids know which houses hand out the best treats and carry that around in their hearts for a lifetime. One night a year can have huge impact on how the children in your neighborhood feel.
12. Support neighborhood schools. If your neighborhood school is having a fundraiser or an event, consider participating. If you have time, perhaps volunteer.
13. Spread neighborhood positivity and cheer on social media. Join neighborhood groups on Facebook or Nextdoor and start conversations around the many unique gifts in your neighborhood.
14. Find points of connection around the Holidays. Little meaningful gifts, holiday cards, caroling, or other thoughtful ways of reaching out to neighbors can leave a mark and help everyone feel a little bit more connected and valued during the holidays.
15. Try to attend events within your neighborhood. Block parties, church bazaars, neighborhood yard sales, and concerts are excellent ways to support the people in your neighborhood and make connections with different people.
16. Spend time in your neighborhood and acknowledge neighbors. Go outside and be in an area where you can interact with people. Sit on your porch, work in your yard, walk through the neighborhood, work in your garage, and try to greet the people passing.
17. Keep an eye out for the kids. Notice which houses have kids and make sure they aren’t in any unsafe situations as they play.
18. Plant flowers in your front yard. The simple cheer of flowers help brighten gloomy days … and they feed the bees!
19. Obey traffic laws. Stop at stop signs and cross walks, follow the speed limit, and park in appropriate areas. This is a great way to keep your neighborhood safe.
20. Advocate for affordable housing. Some neighborhoods have a lack of diversity or affordable housing. Pay attention to whether your neighborhood is gentrifying, staying unhealthily homogenous, or continues to be inaccessible. Talk to local leaders about what can be done.
21. Participate in holiday décor or activities. Even the silliest of decorations can add cheer around the different holidays of the year. Decorations are increasingly popular and valued in communities.
22. Check in on elderly or disabled neighbors. When inclement weather hits, make sure that the vulnerable in your neighborhood are safe and have what they need.
23. Don’t gossip or be a snoop. Staying informed on the community and knowing those who live around you is not the same as gossiping or lack of respect for privacy. If you feel like the information you’re gleaning is giving you power over others, check your motives and your heart to see whether you’re participating in unkind activities.
24. Clean up trash when you see it. Clean up trash on your property, but also don’t be afraid to pick up trash you see throughout the neighborhood.
25. Don’t be afraid to share. Put out free items in your yard, offer them up on social media tools or resources to be shared among neighbors, and be willing to give up time to help a neighbor in need.
Originally published on https://www.hopefulneighborhood.org.