With Valentine’s Day, you’re probably planning to do something nice for your family or significant other in February. There’s another holiday in February called International Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) Day. What are RAOKs? It’s just what it sounds like: an unprompted nice act, often done anonymously.
Do you ever do RAOK for your neighbors? Focusing some kind acts toward the people who live around you is not only a good gesture but can help build stronger and safer communities. RAOK are a great way to get to know your neighbors in a fun way. Some communities are tighter knit than others, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t start to work this week on ways to foster a stronger, more connected community.
Here are some neighborly RAOK ideas:
- Take your neighbor’s garbage cans to/from the curb.
- Shovel for your neighbor, if weather permits.
- Leave a special treat in someone’s mailbox.
- Buy someone’s coffee or groceries from a local business.
- Compliment your neighbor on their decorations or landscaping.
- Welcome new neighbors with a note or small gift. Deliver it personally if possible.
- Exchange cell numbers with your neighbor in case they need to get ahold of you.
- Make a donation to a local cause.
- Go to a community meeting or event and get to know new people.
- Offer up your prime parking spot for a day.
- Clean up along your street.
- Leave quarters at your local laundromat for people to use.
- Write a positive review online for a local business you appreciate.
- Say “Hi! How are you today?” to someone you see on your street.
- Help someone unload groceries or offer to pick up groceries for sick/elderly neighbors.
- Make and distribute kindness rocks.
- Bring up the concept of a Neighborhood Watch Group to your local police department or community group.
- Give another driver the right-of-wayat a busy intersection.
- Hold the door or elevator for someone.
- Introduce yourself to someone you haven’t met before.
- Send the local nursing home or hospital flowers.
- Let a neighbor know if you see anything suspicious going on around their home.
- Offer to house sit or pet sit when a neighbor is going out of town.
- Thank someone who helps you in your daily life like the mail carrier or a barista.
- Hand-out/deliver treats for your neighbor’s pets.
You might make your neighbor’s day by performing RAOK, and you could also help foster a valuable relationship! Here are a couple of reasons being friendly with your neighbors is a particularly good idea.
- Safety. A neighbor with whom you have a good relationship is more likely to let you know if they see something happening around your home. This can be invaluable in the case of anything from potential burglary or a lurking stranger. A helpful neighbor is a great partner to a monitored security system.
- Neighborhood Watch. If you’re friendly with your neighbors, it’s easier to start something like a Neighborhood Crime Watch group which can really help improve the safety of your community. All it takes is a hello, and you could set the groundwork for an encouraging and productive community of neighbors. Invite your security systems company to speak at one of your meetings.
- Help When You Need It. Who else is likely to be around when you need a hand? From jumping your car to borrowing a cup of flour, a neighbor will likely be happy to help you out if you’ve been kind to them. You never know when you might need a helpful hand.
- Thriving Local Businesses. When you make the extra effort to patronize or give positive reviews to the businesses in your area, it helps to build stronger communities.