Member Stories

Lean on me: Asking your neighbors for help

Written by Shannon Toliver

“We need our community. If you put yourself out there, you might just meet someone wonderful,” -Katie G.

When Katie G. first moved to Napa Valley, CA, she found herself feeling alone and isolated. As a full-time nurse and a single mom to seven-year-old twins, she felt she’d never have the time to develop close personal relationships that are so essential to a happy and fulfilling life.

That is, until she had the idea of using Nextdoor to post a request for a “grandmother” figure – someone loving and supportive to join Katie’s family. At first, she was hesitant to request any help, but after a year Katie decided to take a leap of faith and open up to her community.

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Much to her surprise, Katie’s post received dozens of positive comments and private messages from her neighbors. The responses ranged from offers to help take her kids to karate and dance lessons to kudos for being brave enough to ask for help. Overwhelmed by the kindness of her community, Katie decided to invite her Nextdoor neighbors over for a dinner party to show her appreciation.

Katie believes that the relationships formed during this dinner party truly saved her life. “Three women came to the dinner and we formed a bond over shared feelings of isolation, the desire to overcome our different but overlapping personal hurdles, shared stories of challenges and triumphs, and a promise to get together monthly. We pledged to be there for each other in personal support, social dinners, lonely holidays, sickness, and emergencies. All of us acknowledged that isolation in one’s community leads to depression and together we can be one step closer to a more meaningful and happier life.”

This new “family” of women invited each other to reach out and ask for help whenever they may need it.

Loneliness is a growing public health concern. Studies suggest that social isolation is a key contributor to poor health and can even lead to a decreased longevity and quality of life. Acceptance of these feelings, openness to reaching out, and deciding to take action like Katy did, is a critical step in mitigating the risk factors (National Academy of Sciences). Nextdoor encourages neighbors to turn their online interactions into offline relationships to build stronger communities and better lives.

Katie hopes that her story will inspire other people in similar situations to reach out and do the same. “We are defined by the loving relationships we have in our lives. When you move, you can feel isolated and lonely. Thank you Nextdoor for the platform in which I could reach out and we could find each other. It’s a beautiful thing.”

8 Comments

  • We are only as good as we treat others. We call it Nextdoor and we do knock to borrow or give a cup of kindness when needed. Thanks all.

  • Such a good, brave idea to reach out for friendship and support — tempered with caution for safety. It worked out very well for this young woman. I see people in our area reaching out for recommendations and referrals but not much personal reaching out. I’m curious what others in our area think about Next Door as a forum for neighborliness and how you would use it?

    • I think there can be a great need for this kind of reaching out. So many people I have known may sit behind four walls waiting for neighborly connection and not knowing how to reach out for it. Or fearful of ‘strangers’ who may just be a few conversations away from becoming friends. I hope we can encourage this kind of sharing in our neighborhood.

  • Thank you for your bravery to reach out to your neighborhood! It can be VERY intimidating. But it worked!!! Now it is up to me to do the same!!!

  • Yes I have gotten lonely so I volunteer at Meals on Wheels or Thrift Store. It helps me be around people. I joined a makeup company so I could do makeovers. That has helped me with my loneliness and developing relationships. I sometimes pray to help other women in same situation get out of their house. I am very thankful.

  • Nextdoor.com is a really good site for sharing, seeking advice or help. It is also good to let others in the neighborhood know what to look out for on certain streets. Safety issues here.

  • I love that Katie used Nextdoor to find someone to add to her village…this is so inspirational on so many levels..a unique use of Nextdoor, and with great results…

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