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12 Days of Kindness

Written by Siobhan Moylan

New research shows that small acts of kindness are good for the community and that helping your neighbours does make a difference, specifically reducing feelings of loneliness. Nextdoor Australia recently partnered with Swinburne University to examine the impact of neighbourly connections, and we found that knowing just 6 neighbours can help you feel less lonely. That’s why we’re asking you to take the KIND challenge and reach out to a neighbour today.  

We’re sharing our annual “12 Days of Kindness” for a bit of inspiration, looking at 12 Nextdoor members who are going above and beyond. Sometimes it’s as simple as just saying hello… that’s all it takes to make a difference.

Volunteering in Victoria 

Neil, his wife, and his beautiful family are refugees from Sri Lanka who have been awaiting their status for seven long years. Neil joined Nextdoor to meet people and find ways to help build the community and he has made many new friends this way. Neil volunteers for the SES and has built community groups from the ground up without asking for anything in return. When talking about Neil, neighbours say that he has, “shown more compassion, kindness and selfless community spirit than we’ve ever known or seen. He has inspired everyone around him and everyone he meets. His selfless dedication to his family and the community is his driving force.” Neighbour Cat met Neil through Nextdoor and now they  are working together to enhance Ballarat as a great place to live. Neil visits elderly neighbours often during the day as he hates to see anyone being lonely, and says “we must look after one another”

Isolated No More, NSW

Shannon is in her 30s and moved to Sydney recently with her husband for his work. She has no family in the area and quickly realised the hardship of having no friends either. After two years of feeling lonely and at a loss for local connection,  Shannon joined Nextdoor and got to work organising a ladies lunch at The Mean Fiddler Pub in Rouse Hill. About 15 women of all ages turned up – the youngest was 25 and the oldest, close to 70. Shannon says, “It was a real mix and everyone had a great time and it was so easy to organise on Nextdoor. This app has literally made my life better!”  Some ladies like Shannon had no friends or were new to the area so this was a day of connection – the new friends are already planning the next event. Shannon says,  “I even met my best friend on Nextdoor and she lives around the corner!  Because my hubby and I are going through IVF the women have been such a support – now I have friends to invite to my baby shower! My husband is really happy that I have people to hang out with, it’s made our lives so much richer and happier” 

Shannon’s story told here in The Sydney Morning Herald

Stuck Between Worlds in Victoria 

Joey Abboud normally spends half his time in Bali where he runs a business and the other half in his hometown, Melbourne. When Covid-19 hit, his world fell apart and he was trapped and unable to travel back to his wife in Bali. Though he has two adult children in Melbourne, they are not nearby, so Joey quickly found himself spiralling into depression. He joined Nextdoor and offered help via the Help Map, “I am a giving person and I believe in the law of karma, it’s good to connect with community even if you dont know them.” 

Joey then opened up to the community on Nextdoor and he was overwhelmed with messages of useful support and connections and he says, “24 hours later, my head was in a totally different place – to see complete strangers offering help with so many suggestions and actual good advice gave me a sense of gratitude  – you get to a stage where you can hate the world and this post gave me something to look forward to.  I’ve actually made a really good friend on Nextdoor through Covid – we’ve talked on the phone nearly every day and we haven’t met . Because I travel a lot, I don’t know many people, so when lockdown came it was really hard. From then on, I felt so much better and I actually took the advice of my neighbours. I actually took up meditation instead of becoming destructive and I really do have Nextdoor to thank. It’s really cool!”  

Let’s Make Friends, QLD

We loved this post from Morgan in Sunnybank Hills, Qld this year who was concerned about grandma feeling alone. He’s been overwhelmed with neighbours wanting to visit her and she’s also gained a few pen pals whilst in isolation!! 

Women Supporting Women  in Victoria 

There are so many amazing local businesses in Australia, and we’re so excited that many of them are already using our new, free Business Posts feature to communicate with nearby customers. One of our favourite local businesses is Sisterworks. We love everything that Sisterworks  stands for, working tirelessly to support women who are new to Australia. 

Ambassador and Director  Khadija Gbla told us that “For me, women empowerment is about promoting female self worth, having choices, decision making power, freedom, safety & opportunities to thrive and make meaningful contributions.”  We love that Sisterworks have joined us on Nextdoor and look forward to working with them to make life better and easier for all women who are new to Australia. Sisterworks has a large selection of hampers and 50% of the profit from each product supports the migrant, refugee, and asylum seeker woman who made it. They are are offering 10% off to all Nextdoor Members with the code CHRISTMAS10 and free shipping for orders above $99. Shop here

Seeing The Future In Lockdown, NSW

We loved this story out of NSW where Jazz Chetham decided to help her neighbours keep busy and happy during Covid-19 lockdown, by offering up free, virtual Tarot card readings! 

Jazz told us that the experience of posting to the community was, “Just amazing – everyone was absolutely lovely. I got so many bookings.  I thought I’d get just one or two, but I did close to 50 which is great because I was so bored and really needed to learn how to use video technology. Thanks to my neighbours, I now know how to use Zoom ! I am a major introvert and it’s actually made me feel more confident – the whole Nextdoor experience has been so great for me.” – By the way, she is really good!

Ben, The Community Connector, VIC

Ben is 26 and is intellectually impaired. He was born with an inoperable brain tumour and, as a result, was profoundly deaf at birth and speaks with a severe speech impediment. During the pandemic lockdown, Ben lost all his residual hearing and is now totally deaf. He has epilepsy and tunnel vision, all due to his developmental brain tumour that apparently occurs in 1 in a 1000 births. Despite all of Ben’s medical issues, he is a real people person and has a strong sense of community and ‘helping’ others. 

Ben and his whole family are on Nextdoor and Ben is now one of our most enthusiastic Neighbourhood Leads. In order to help grow the community,  Ben is keen to improve his physical fitness by walking whilst doing something for the local community, so you may see him out there handing out Nextdoor flyers! We love that Ben shares our passion for community building and he inspires us to never give up. 

When Life Gives You Lemons. Kim, Perth 

As proven in our new global research, even the smallest acts of kindness can make a big impact on the local community.  Imagine a rock landing in a lake… the ripple effect of the water is like the knock-on effect from kindness. We love seeing neighbours give away free goods to each other and continuing to pay it forward. Ollie kept his whole neighbourhood of Wannanup going during Covid-19 with free limes and lemons on his front steps nearly everyday! 

9. An Unlikely Friendship, NSW

Dennis needed some help moving something in the garage, and being new to the area, didn’t have anyone that he knew could lend him a hand. Dennis is battling Parkinson’s disease, and posted the job on Nextdoor offering some cash in exchange for the help.  Cyril, from the Philippines,  was new to the area too, and low on cash, and accepted the offer.

A psychology graduate back home in the Philippines, Cyril works as a disability support worker in Sydney and the two quickly became friends. Recently, Cyril was sending Christmas presents home to the Philippines and Dennis was so grateful to her for her help throughout the year that he offered to pay for the postage to send the pressies back home. Though Cyril now has a job further away from the area she still pops in to make sure he is alright,  “I will pop in on Dennis pre-Christmas to make sure he is doing ok.  As an international student, Nextdoor was super helpful for me in finding work but also in making friends like Dennis.” 

The Community Pantry – Tahira Sheikh Victoria 

Originally from Kenya the community organiser at heart and part of the Pataka Movement.  Started in New Zealand, Pataka means ‘community pantry’. Tahira says, “I have a community pantry outside my home offering free food for anyone in need. Take what you need and if you can, donate. No questions, no judgment, no obligation. All are welcome to take from the community pantry and to leave or donate. This pantry has helped many families ensuring everyone has a meal. I am always looking to support the community….”

“Nextdoor has been a great inclusion in my neighbourhood reach out.  There’s no better way of ensuring a safe community than knowing your neighbour.” 

Tahira, Victoria

Homeless Man Gets Help From Neighbours

Mandy, from Camperdown in Sydney, used Nextdoor to bring the community together to help a homeless man get settled into a new home. Mandy has never met him, but has a background in assisting people reintegrating into the community. So, she tapped into the neighbourhood to gather some homewares for him and she managed to furnish his entire unit thanks to the kindness of strangers! 

Mandy says, “It’s easy. People don’t want to throw stuff out and people throw out perfectly good stuff, fantastic things! Not only can you help someone out but you can also help save the environment by tapping into local resources. I personally look at Nextdoor before going to the shops these days”.

Thank You Greg

And finally.. How could we forget that this year, Original Yellow Wiggle Greg Page joined us as a Nextdoor Ambassador! 

Together, we kicked off the national  Heart of The Neighbourhood Campaign –  setting a new world record for the biggest online CPR class!  Checkout this song he wrote for World Kindness Day and for you!  What a way to end the year! 

Read more incredible member stories on our website and drop by and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @nextdoorau  

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