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#30DaysofGOOD Challenge: 11. Do Something Nice for a Neighbor

Each month, we challenge our community to do something that will improve the world around us—and our own lives. September's challenge? To connect.


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Welcome to The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD). Each month, we challenge our community members to do something that will improve the world around us—and our own lives. The challenge for September? To connect with other people. In an effort to help us all rise to the occasion, we're going to assign one small task every day. Each morning, we will post the challenge on GOOD.is and Twitter, along with a testimonial from someone on the GOOD team who's already completed it. We invite you to complete all 30 mini-challenges with us! Today, we challenge you to:

Do something nice for a neighbor.

Living in New York City, I have two kinds of neighbors. There are the friends that happen to live around the corner and across the street. They’re the ones with whom I’ve shared Kobe beef for sliders just before a hurricane, the ones I hug when I meet them on the street unexpectedly, the ones for whom I hold onto keys while they’re out of town, the ones I invite over for dinner at last minute when whatever’s cooking looks too good not to share.

Then there are the neighbors who live in my building, the 20-odd people I pass on the staircase and meet at the mailboxes. Everyone keeps a studious distance, because in the East Village, where turnover is high and quarters cramped, it’s easy to cross the line from neighborly to far too intimate. From my kitchen window, I can see through the meter-wide window well into the apartment across the hall. I can hear through the walls into the apartment next door, where the last occupant, Elaine, thought it was strange that I knew her name at all.

There’s a flip side to this inescapable intimacy, a neighborliness that comes from living in the same apartment building. I know the habits of the older gentleman who sings opera to himself during the afternoon, the neighbor who rents out her apartment to tourists when she’s away, and the skinny hipster who practices violin. So when the teacher who lives in 4D and generally has somewhere between four and seven cats in residence knocked on my door a few months ago, the gesture felt so neighborly that I was sure she was going to ask for a cup of sugar. What she needed was a stack of blank paper to print out the next day’s assignment for her students. I gave her all I had. It was more than enough, she said.

- Sarah Laskow

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Ready, set, go! Good luck completing today's challenge. Share your experience on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook by using the hashtag #30DaysofGOOD, or let us know how it went in the comments section below.

Tomorrow's challenge: Give five high-fives