Neighbor stories

Celebrating Women in the Neighborhood

Written by Shannon Toliver

In honor of Women’s History Month, Nextdoor is celebrating women around the country who have played a critical role in building stronger communities. Although women are worthy of recognition all year round, March is a time to unite around women everywhere and recognize their unique contributions to American history and culture.

The following women went above and beyond to empower their neighbors and ensure everyone in their local community had a neighborhood to rely on.

Leslie M. | Sewing Hijabs, Not Hate

Sewing instructor Leslie was scrolling their Nextdoor when she came across a post about the Somali American Women Action Center, an organization formed by immigrant and refugee women in Minneapolis, MN. She soon learned that men typically dominate the sewing and tailoring businesses in Somali culture, so it was a big deal if a woman could learn to sew and offer a tailoring service. In an effort to break the cycle of poverty, Leslie decided to volunteer by teaching a sewing class each week to the Somali women. After meeting the women and learning more about Somali culture, together they launched a campaign called “Hijabs, not Hate,” aiming to raise awareness about what a hijab is and how to wear it. Leslie and the other volunteers often post on Nextdoor to collect donations for sewing machines, tools, and fabric. In fact, the response from their community was so overwhelming that they had to start limiting the amount of donations they could accept based on storage space! Ultimately, the organization strives to provide access to resources and the opportunity to build a skill set for Somali women to become self-sufficient. Leslie shares, “The most rewarding thing is seeing women who’ve lived through such hardship be proud of something they didn’t think they could do.”

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Photo from Real Simple Magazine

Jane G. | Sonoma British Ladies Club

When Jane originally moved from England to Mill Valley, CA, she was able to find a great group of girlfriends in no time. However, when her kids grew up and she moved to Sonoma, CA, she found it much more difficult to find friends to meet for a cup of tea or a walk around the park. In an attempt to meet neighbors with a familiar background and similar interests, Jane posted on Nextdoor to see if there were any British women that would want to join a women’s group. The post spread rapidly and within days it was the talk of the town at the local supermarket. Today, Jane’s Nextdoor Group, the “Sonoma British Ladies Club”, consists of over 30 women of all ages who left England for various reasons and ended up together in Sonoma. They have a shared understanding of British humor, history, and culture and can comfort one another when feeling homesick. 

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Tiffany M. | Survivor Ventures

With a little help from her neighbors, Tiffany has dedicated her life to fighting human trafficking and positively impacting the lives of young women in Virginia. For many survivors of human trafficking, breaking free isn’t as easy as people often believe it to be. Human traffickers prey on single mothers, homeless youth, and other vulnerable populations, and hook them on a lucrative industry that is difficult to walk away from. In 2018, Tiffany began a nonprofit called Survivor Ventures that aims to provide human trafficking victims with support and resources needed to reach economic empowerment. The first step in escaping this vicious cycle was to help survivors find safe shelter, so Tiffany turned to her neighbors on Nextdoor for housing recommendations and donations, and was overwhelmed by the response. Dozens of neighbors offered suggestions and dropped off donations, and each interaction gave Tiffany an opportunity to educate her neighbors how they can support survivors of human trafficking. From just one Nextdoor post, Tiffany was able to furnish two full homes for survivors with an estimated $10,000 in donated furniture. “There is so much social capital out there,” shared Tiffany. “Our neighbors can help us overcome some of our biggest obstacles in life, and this was tremendous proof of that. There is something very special in knowing that your donations are helping someone recover.”

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Donations and Care packages for survivors (Photo from @SurvivorVentures)

Sosi S. | Companionship 

Sosi is a 76-year-old divorcée who lives in the West Village of New York City. In an effort to find companionship and support around her neighborhood, she posted on Nextdoor to see if any women her age would be interested in meeting up on a regular basis. To her surprise, her initial post received over 300 comments from eager neighbors! Shocked by the overwhelming response, Sosi began to organize small group meetings to encompass a variety of her neighbors’ interests: weekly wine chats, dinner at a local restaurant, support meetings to discuss personal concerns, attending cultural events around NYC, book clubs, and discussions of foreign cultures. The women now meet regularly to share life stories and wisdom and have in turn created a large support network for older women in New York.

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Photo by Stefano Giovannini, New York Post

Cynthia B. & Deborah O. | Waterside Wine Women

Disheartened and lonely after losing her best friend to cancer, Cynthia posted on Nextdoor to see if anyone would be open to building a new friendship. She suggested a women’s wine group – a no-pressure invitation to have a glass of wine, eat some dinner, and hangout with new girlfriends. Within 20 minutes of posting, she had over 200 ladies around Houston, TX who responded that they, too, were lonely and would love to meet new friends. Cynthia invited her neighbors to a meetup and the “Waterside Wine Women” group was born! The women range in age from their mid 30s to late 70s and have been meeting twice a month for over 2 years for activities such as winery tours, weekend getaways, and more. Due to the incredible response, Cynthia now helps other women in Houston create their own meetup groups to help cope with social isolation and loneliness. One of the members of the Waterside Wine Women, Deborah, was so inspired by the group that she wrote a book titled The Healing Power of Girlfriends.

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Share your story of an inspiring woman in your neighborhood in the comments below!

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    • We are woman hear us whisper. What inspiring stories and women. Thank you one and all for inspiring the rest of us to be a better friend, neighbor, community member ,and stranger to EVERYONE we share this beautiful world with.
      Thank you for making me a better woman today than i was yesterday.
      In todays busy world we need more of this and less hatred and self centerdness. Whats the saying? “In the end, you get what you give…” nothing more

        • Hi Diane, I just ran across this blog and was wondering if there is a women’s fellowship/support group near me? I live near Oak Lawn and would be interested in joining a group.

      • That’s really Awesome. I think everyone needs some kind of SupportSystem. Whether it’s your Mom, your kids ,or your dog. Having a small group of Women that could depend on each other and have their backs in bad times, Well, It would or could make life a little easier. Trying to do things alone, I have All ,but,lost faith in people.My hat go off to you ladies.We are all Survivors …!

  • We are stronger together than we are alone and that is a fact. I’m lonely sometimes now that I’m retired and I’d love to meet more people in Cohoes, NY and surrounding communities for some coffee and some chat. Perhaps a game of Scrabble if there are any players out there…

  • Thanks sooo much for showing how so few women can make such a huge difference in the lives of so many people! My only regret is that these are not local women, for I know that in this very area, this very neighborhood, there are women as accomplished, as giving and caring as these. But the effort is appreciated!

    • Sounds like you maybe one of them. ; )
      I hope we hear your story here next year.
      Have a blessed year.

    • Hi Marilyn,

      I feel the same way! There’s a women’s group called Make it Happen Girls, on Facebook. The admin name is Jennifer Barlow.

      I’d like to find some women friends, that are fun, interesting and educational.


      Diana Harden

  • Wow amazing how Women can now be seen as inspiration and strong will to overcome adversity it would be an honor to meet you all

  • I am in valley oaks and would love to meet with women. I am fairly new to the area, it would be wonderful to meet new people and get together. Lenora

  • My friend Elsa and I started a small cleaning business together after both suffering a family loss and change of employment circumstances. Nextdoor helped put us in touch with our amazing neighbors to help us achieve our dreams!

  • Just a thought: google local social groups or specialty organizations (garden clubs, travel groups,etc.) the library, YMCA has lots of interesting classes and such to meet people. Have an awesome week!

  • Hi I live in Calabash North Carolina have been here almost three years would love to have some new girlfriends I love to go out and hear music have dinner and I love to go to the beach in the summer

  • Enjoyed reading your blog. It gave me some ideas on ways to meet up with people who are in the same situation as I am living. Thank you.

  • i am new to everything!
    i am 40 and i am just exploring everything right now.
    and i am trying to start with meeting and talking to people in my neighborhood..
    so i can feel stronger and better about myself.. but its hard because people are busy or maybe too asfraid to, i dont know..
    i was thinking of writing a post to ask to meet with me just for an hour or half or just a pass by.. i am trying to do my own therapy thing with the help of who ever i meet by just meeting and talking. i think i will go for it..

    • Hi Shiba, be glad to be your friend ! I’m a people person, and love to make new friends. I am very close to God as he is my best friend ! I always have time for more in my life !! I will be more than glad to talk anytime you want/need a friend to talk to. My ph. #(317) 747-4669.
      God Bless, Sherry…

    • Hi Shiba,
      I am also trying to do my own therapy thing. We have that in common. I am older than you but would love to share ideas. Where do you live? Annie

  • Check out MeetUp. There are all sorts of groups on there for every interest, age group, and many for just women!

    We use MeetUp for our women’s group here in OKC. You can make the group public or private (meaning they have to be approved). We post all the events we are doing there and people can respond if they plan to come.

  • This looks like an interesting blog I am in the Steffens Park neighborhood Fraser MI…
    Find it interesting that at my age I have made some friends through next door and they happened to be a few women and I’ve never had women friends I’ve always had been friends I’m more of a man’s woman that a woman’s woman used to find that women were how do I say I wasn’t into the gossip in the talking behind the backs in the the the bitchinessl the yada yada, offense to anyone but I just never enjoyed any of that part of it… But know that I am and I’m not saying
    I found a few women that have the same interest as mine and that are a lot like me very independent and we have the same a lot of the same things in common and that is unusual to find I’m in a woman I don’t like to shop really I shop online I’m not a close I mean I have clothes but you know I’m very comfortable in a pair of old Levis that have to wear leggings with because well you could imagine how old are I’ve had him since I can’t even tell you they’re five buttons on 501 Levi’s and I’ve had them since time immemorial so they’re ripped every place but where they should should be they are there where they should be there before they should be let’s just say… I have done everything under the sun I’ve reinvented myself so many times it’s not even funny but I’ve worked for by itself for a long long time and then I I became ill but that hasn’t stopped me I no do landscape design and I’ve won awards for my Landscaping I still do it but in a different kind of away and I have so much fun and I need quite a few people that way and that quite a couple of women are next door and we really come to be friends and have a good time together not shopping that you know going to the mall or I don’t do those kind of things I like to find out how other women feel in their heart and souls how they think about w selves in about feelings and and what they think about dim the selves and in body image and about about how the world treats older women as opposed to how the world treats older men etc etc etc it’s interesting to me a lot of topics about aging and the world how it’s never the same for women as it is for men and I think that it’s time for a change and that women should stand up and take notice and make a statement for ourselves because I said as we age we become more beautiful in our souls and in our in our hearts and in our appearance I think the older you get the wiser you get and I think knowledge is power and that’s what makes us beautiful all of us…

    • Howdy from Seneca Falls, New York: home of the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Women’s Rights National Park, which has real park rangers!

      26 August 1920 is the date of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, recognizing women’s right to vote.

      This is the centennial! 100 years ago, we got the vote. Now let’s see what we do with it!

  • This is all well and good but it’s pretty obvious this country is in no way ready to get behind and support a woman for president!!

  • I as a male have been blessed with many beautiful wonderful ladies. My mom my sister and wife. So many I have worked with over many many years as a nurse. I have been coached encouraged by many great women. Friends by many. Thank you all each and every one

  • Congratulations to all of these amazing women. My name is Eve Aronoff Trivella. I grew up in Hartsdale and have resided in Thornwood for the last 26 years. I am a member of the First Women’s Olympic Judo Team in 1988. As a woman being a part of an historical event, as a first, I think this blog is a beautiful thing. I am Owner/founder of Eve’s Ultimate Body Training LLC as well as founder of FALLING FOR SENIORS. I am a Fitness/Judo instructor. I volunteer teaching senior citizens as well as any age modified safety Judo falls.( very modified) Please google me at Eve Aronoff Trivella Olympian for my info. and bio. In honor of Women’s History Month I am offering 1 free Judo/self defense group session to the first 10 women who contact me. My gym is located in Thornwood and I will set a date after I get the commitment from my 10 woman who want to learn how to protect themselves. Again please google me at Eve Aronoff Trivella Olympian and you can get all info on me. Please respond to me on next door, email or text 914-715-5710. Note, text will get to me right away.

  • My late wife formed a group of women she called the Zodiac club that met for dinner and wine in each month a member had a birthday. The member celebrating the birthday chose the location. She did this on Long Island with acquaintances who became very close friends over many years and it endured many changes including loss of family members due to death, divorces and other hardships. Several years later she did the same thing again in Houston, Texas after relocating while maintaining contact with her NY friends. Occasionally husbands were invited as well and they became friends as well.

  • Dinana Wiley – A young woman names Diana Wiley had a very lucrative job and went with a church group to Mozambique to help their church. While there, she visited Rawanda. She discovered many widows and orphans who were the results of genocide. They had no homes, income, and had taken in other people’s orphans who were killed in the genocide. She quit her job and set up a non-profit which started with volunteers helping the women get homes, make products to sell, and set up bank accounts. Diana had sheep brought in and rabbits. The women learned to weave materials and make clothes and articles. She is constantly in the sky to Rawanda and back with volunteers. The women laugh and sing now and are happy.
    Look up on Facebook “True Vineyards, Inc.” and the sister “Handspun Home 2018”. There are several articles that explain Diana and her successful calling. They explain her wonderful work more than I can. Especially, view the True Vineyard Ministries Promotional Video to her it from her and her staffs word.

  • Wow, gives me much encouragement to read these stories and their connection with others who have loss of spouse or friends and reach us here way down south. I am here in Louisiana, but lived in Massachusetts and New Jersey during my teen years. I now do caregiving for those in need and it’s my way of giving back.

  • I found this read thought provoking on International Women’s Day today. I hope you do, too.

    Be A Lady…

    “Be a lady they said. Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Your pants are too tight. Don’t show so much skin. Don’t show your thighs. Don’t show your breasts. Don’t show your midriff. Don’t show your cleavage. Don’t show your underwear. Don’t show your shoulders. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Dress modestly. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves. Men have needs. You look frumpy. Loosen up. Show some skin. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down. Don’t wear those sweatpants; you look like you’ve let yourself go.

    Be a lady they said. Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. Don’t be too large. Don’t be too small. Eat up. Slim down. Stop eating so much. Don’t eat too fast. Order a salad. Don’t eat carbs. Skip dessert. You need to lose weight. Fit into that dress. Go on a diet. Watch what you eat. Eat celery. Chew gum. Drink lots of water. You have to fit into those jeans. God, you look like a skeleton. Why don’t you just eat? You look emaciated. You look sick. Eat a burger. Men like women with some meat on their bones. Be small. Be light. Be little. Be petite. Be feminine. Be a size zero. Be a double zero. Be nothing. Be less than nothing.

    Be a lady they said. Remove your body hair. Shave your legs. Shave your armpits. Shave your bikini line. Wax your face. Wax your arms. Wax your eyebrows. Get rid of your mustache. Bleach this. Bleach that. Lighten your skin. Tan your skin. Eradicate your scars. Cover your stretch marks. Tighten your abs. Plump your lips. Botox your wrinkles. Lift your face. Tuck your tummy. Thin your thighs. Tone your calves. Perk up your boobs. Look natural. Be yourself. Be genuine. Be confident. You’re trying too hard. You look overdone. Men don’t like girls who try too hard.

    Be a lady they said. Wear makeup. Prime your face. Conceal your blemishes. Contour your nose. Highlight your cheekbones. Line your lids. Fill in your brows. Lengthen your lashes. Color your lips. Powder, blush, bronze, highlight. Your hair is too short. Your hair is too long. Your ends are split. Highlight your hair. Your roots are showing. Dye your hair. Not blue, that looks unnatural. You’re going grey. You look so old. Look young. Look youthful. Look ageless. Don’t get old. Women don’t get old. Old is ugly. Men don’t like ugly.

    Be a lady they said. Save yourself. Be pure. Be virginal. Don’t talk about sex. Don’t flirt. Don’t be a skank. Don’t be a whore. Don’t sleep around. Don’t lose your dignity. Don’t have sex with too many men. Don’t give yourself away. Men don’t like sluts. Don’t be a prude. Don’t be so up tight. Have a little fun. Smile more. Pleasure men. Be experienced. Be sexual. Be innocent. Be dirty. Be virginal. Be sexy. Be the cool girl. Don’t be like the other girls.

    Be a lady they said. Don’t talk too loud. Don’t talk too much. Don’t take up space. Don’t sit like that. Don’t stand like that. Don’t be intimidating. Why are you so miserable? Don’t be a bitch. Don’t be so bossy. Don’t be assertive. Don’t overact. Don’t be so emotional. Don’t cry. Don’t yell. Don’t swear. Be passive. Be obedient. Endure the pain. Be pleasing. Don’t complain. Let him down easy. Boost his ego. Make him fall for you. Men want what they can’t have. Don’t give yourself away. Make him work for it. Men love the chase. Fold his clothes. Cook his dinner. Keep him happy. That’s a woman’s job. You’ll make a good wife some day. Take his last name. You hyphenated your name? Crazy feminist. Give him children. You don’t want children? You will some day. You’ll change your mind.

    Be a lady they said. Don’t get raped. Protect yourself. Don’t drink too much. Don’t walk alone. Don’t go out too late. Don’t dress like that. Don’t show too much. Don’t get drunk. Don’t leave your drink. Have a buddy. Walk where it is well lit. Stay in the safe neighborhoods. Tell someone where you’re going. Bring pepper spray. Buy a rape whistle. Hold your keys like a weapon. Take a self-defense course. Check your trunk. Lock your doors. Don’t go out alone. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t bat your eyelashes. Don’t look easy. Don’t attract attention. Don’t work late. Don’t crack dirty jokes. Don’t smile at strangers. Don’t go out at night. Don’t trust anyone. Don’t say yes. Don’t say no.

    Just ‘be a lady’ they said.”


    • Mary Alice McLean
      I had to make myself a cup of tea half way through this outrageously funny “Be a Lady.”
      At the end, I smiled at myself for actually reading something sooo long, because I found myself agreeing with so many of the paragraphs. What a way to end up my day and be happy that I can enjoy the friendships of the women that have come and gone in my life.
      My life is richer for having read this email.
      God is good and is there for me 24/7.

      Happy trails to you…

  • Ya know it is an ongoing celebration of women as a man.
    My saying is: behind every man there is a great woman-wife, mother, sister, friend, what ever. They encourage support, love unconditionally and can be your best friend. They can push you or pull you to a better place in needed.
    I would not be who I am today without my wonderful wife who has put up with my crap for years. A saint she is for me.
    Blessings to all women and thank you.

  • My life has been so very blessed by my wife Marta. For me one of the greatest spirits of positive, creative, courageous women I have ever met! I am encouraged by the spirit of the women who shared in the celebration of Womens’ day! I will be share this Blog with my wife so she may choose to be a part. Thank you all for what you bring to the world!

  • Tiffany can you text me your contact info re your outreach to human trafficking
    Rosie at 6124903843…would love to connect with you.

  • I want to tell you all about an important new book, entitled “Design Downtown for Women – Men Will Follow.” Women are unquestionably the most important demographic group for cities, downtowns and business districts. But women are too often left out of design decisions. They are underrepresented in all of the professions that design our downtowns. This book was written by women experts in various fields. It suggests ways women can have a greater impact on urban spaces and experiences. Check out the book on Amazon!

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