Knock, Knock. Who's There? Me, Your Neighbor

Once upon a time, people knew their neighbors. That’s not to say that no one knows a single neighbor anymore, but the extent to which we know them and how many of them we know seem to have dwindled over the decades. The level to which we call upon our neighbors for support has lessened, too. Block parties, borrowing eggs and babysitting are not as likely bestowed upon us as neighbors like they may once have been. Our spheres of influence have expanded due to things like the internet and efficient travel, and consequently our reliance on close-by neighbors has dropped off.

On the flip side, our now global community offers more opportunities to experience diversity. In our modern times, people from all walks of life may now be your neighbors! Yet, relocation is challenging, even in the best situations. Our current societal challenges can fuel circumstances that force a family to relocate, such as fear of oppression or lack safety and resources. This is the case for many families settling in Southern California who have turned to an organization called Miry’s List for “neighborly” support in their new communities. Miry’s List is a Los-Angeles based nonprofit inspiring a “movement of neighbors and friends dedicated to welcoming new arrival refugee families into our community through inspired crowdsourcing solutions.”

It started when Miry, the nonprofit’s founder, met a neighbor with same-age kids who also was a Syrian refugee. She recognized their need for support as they settled into a new life. She used her personal Facebook network to crowdsource basic supplies for daily living that helped give the family an edge in their new life here. Miry recognized that there were other families who were relocating with similar needs and this became Miry’s List.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” -Mr. Rogers

We can set our sights far into the distance and learn more and more about people and events all over the world, but often there is something we can do in our own backyard to be helpful. We want to share some impactful ways that Miry’s List has come up with to help our new neighbors. Join in! Or, use it to inspire your own platform of giving for those who are new to your neighborhood.

How can YOU get involved? SIMPLE!

Suggestion #1: Purchase something from a new arrival family’s wishlist to help them turn their house into a home.

Suggestion #2: Try an unfamiliar food or strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know at their New Arrival Supper Club that offers “guests the opportunity to bond with and learn from their resettling neighbors over the universal language of food.”

Suggestion #3: Approach your Neighborhood Council about Miry’s Welcome, Neighbor program so that your immediate community can begin hosting outreach and engagement activities that help your fellow residents become welcoming neighbors to settling families.

While still in the month of love, Mentor Me Learning invites you to consider this story as a way to spark action. Who of your neighbors can you make a connection with? Just as in Miry’s case, it might open an opportunity for you to be helpful, from lending a hand on a small project to developing a project that helps an entire segment of your neighborhood. It’s a chance to expand on a familiar saying, from “Home is where the heart is” to “Home is where the heart and the help is,” for those neighbors who need it.