This month’s Good Neighbor Spotlight features Kendal Grey, a Los Gatos, CA neighbor who continues to use Nextdoor to better her community by bringing neighbors together to help those in less fortunate circumstances. For example, Kendal rallied her neighbors to help Maria, a local housekeeper that was in a bind. And most recently, she helped organize donations for migrant farm workers in a nearby town.
Kendal wanted to share her experience helping neighbors in her own words:
As an avid world traveler, my community of close friends and family are spread around the globe. For some reason, when I am traveling, I am extremely open to meeting new people and putting myself out there socially, but when I am back home (meaning the US) I tend to be more introverted and reclusive. I always make a point to know my immediate neighbors, but beyond that, I tend to have only surface level friendships.
The town of Los Gatos, where I currently reside, was my 45th move, and when I arrived here with a 9-month-old child, I felt very limited in my capacity to put myself out there. Although I was extremely averse to hiring a housekeeper (due to my Midwest upbringing/stubborn work ethic) I relented at my husband’s insistence and Maria, a dual-citizen from Nicaragua, began helping us weekly. We became fast friends despite our language barrier and she was largely my only contact with the outside world. Her warmth and goodness was so radiant, whatever we lacked in verbal understanding, we made up for in hugs and laughter. She was frequently frustrated with her English, as I was equally with my clumsy Spanish, but we got it done.
My daughter is now 3 years old and my mobility has increased, but Maria has remained my closest friend in Los Gatos. I suppose due to my experience traveling, I am more drawn to foreigners living here because I love learning new things from a different perspective; learning different ways to cook, discovering parts of San Jose and the greater area that I would not normally think to visit, and working on my language skills. This is my “community” and I hope that I am modeling this curiosity and openness for my daughter. I want her to feel comfortable around people that don’t necessarily look like her or share her language/customs. I want her heart to be open to finding common ground and being a citizen of the world.
When Maria was mistreated by her former employer, I turned to Nextdoor for help. At that point, I was quite new to the area and had no idea if anyone would be willing or able to help her, but the outpouring of support was overwhelming and really showed me the goodness and kind-heartedness of people here. It made me feel secure in raising my daughter in a place that is not only affluent, but more importantly, filled with good people.
Recently, I turned to Nextdoor once again for help, when I was doing a donation drive for the children of migrant farm workers in Watsonville, CA. Supplies started pouring in immediately, and every time I opened my door, I was greeted with bundles of laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, children’s clothing, etc. Almost everyone who donated not only gave things they were no longer using, but also went to the store to buy brand new things for the farmers. I took my daughter around town and we loaded up my Subaru multiple times, while receiving donations and talking with parents from around the community who wanted to help. Although we are all super busy, I feel confident that I could ask any one of these folks for a play date or to grab drinks, and they would say yes. It puts me at ease knowing that whenever I feel grounded and centered enough in motherhood, I can reach out and grab this community, whenever I want.
Nextdoor has been a tremendous resource, which I value for its inherent safety aspect, that I am only reaching out to those in my immediate area. Whenever I am able to be more social, I will post something to the effect of “Hey, let’s meet for a play date @Bachman park on Saturday” or “I am hosting arts & crafts night, bring wine” and people will come.
Do you know someone who goes above and beyond for your neighborhood? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate a great neighbor in your community.