Team Jedi Magic wanted to create a project that could enhance connections between neighbours. They chose Neighbour Day, modelled after a similar event that began in Melbourne Australia in 2003 and has since spread nationwide.
Their mission? “To create safe neighbourhoods and foster a sense of belonging and feeling valued in a community by promoting inclusion and reducing isolation through the development of neighbour-to-neighbour connections”.
Why Neighbour Day?
While doing their research, the team discovered a recent Statistics Canada study confirming the positive relationship between life satisfaction and an individuals’ feelings of belonging to their community and whether or not they know their neighbours. This research echoed a growing body of research finding that wellbeing is higher amongst people who have regular contact with their neighbours. They found that even just saying “hello” can have a big impact on how secure and happy people feel about where they live.
Further, Victoria residents taking the Victoria Foundation’s 2016 Vital Signs survey asked for more opportunities to get involved in community and neighbourhood activities, reporting that they only knew an average of four neighbours well enough to ask a favour of them.
Neighbour Day is a day of action and an invitation to create new relationships between neighbours where relationships did not previously exist. It provides an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships between neighbours, and is intended to motivate and deploy neighbourhood residents to build neighbour-to-neighbour connections through fun events and activities.
The team found a very fitting partner in The Cridge Centre for the Family, a non-profit organization that provides service to seniors, women and children escaping violence, survivors of brain injury, families raising children with special needs, young parents and children of all abilities and backgrounds. Neighbour Day supports the work of The Cridge Centre for the Family by encouraging inclusion and community engagement through neighbour-to-neighbour connections to build upon and sustain the health, strengths, and capacity of neighbourhoods.
Project Impacts and Future Benefits
Building Community, One Neighbour At a Time
Inaugural Neighbour Day, May 7, 2017
The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia issued a message supporting the inaugural Neighbour Day as an opportunity to open our doors and engage with our neighbours in fun and creative ways. Neighbour Day is dedicated to creating safe, welcoming neighbourhood communities by increasing inclusion and reducing isolation through neighbour-to-neighbour connections.
The City of Victoria and the District of Highlands proclaimed May 7, 2017 as Victoria’s Inaugural Neighbour Day and nine other municipalities also supported the day.
The total estimated number of participants in the first annual Neighbour Day was 2,800. Participants took part in 30 different registered events between May 5th and 7th, 2017. Activities included everything from public tours of Government House, to neighbourhood open houses, front yard bbq’s, patio parties and yard clean-ups.
The team is very happy to report that the Building Resilient Neighbourhoods Project (a partnership between the Community Social Planning Council and Transition Victoria) has agreed to be their Legacy Partner. Neighbour Day will continue through the support of this great team. Other positive legacy impacts of this project include neighbours’ roles in helping with crime prevention and the important impact these connections have on an individual’s mental health and well-being.
In the words of a Team Jedi Magic Member:
“(Through this process) I learned how to be a critical thinker and the importance of looking at the situation from all angles. I have come to appreciate how I analyze situations and projects and how I can enlist the input of other critical thinkers to determine the ‘best next steps’ in a situation…”.
Team Jedi Magic:
- Janelle Breese Biagioni
- Jennifer Chown
- John Sherratt
- Amber Woodworth
Sponsors and Supporters:
- The Cridge Centre for the Family
- Orange Finch Designs
- Garth Homer Society
- BC Transit
- Victoria Cool Aid Society
- The Cridge Centre for the Family Seniors and Women’s Program Staff
- Central Baptist Church Members
- And the many other individuals/family members who held private functions or engaged with neighbours.
For local media coverage:
- Times Colonist
- CHEK TV
For hosting public Neighbour Day events:
- Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, The Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC
- Mary Cridge Manor
- McDonald House
- Cook Street Village Activity Centre
- Victoria Cool Aid Society
For proclaiming or otherwise formally supporting Neighbour Day:
- City of Victoria
- City of Colwood
- City of Langford
- City of Esquimalt
- District of Highlands
- District of Oak Bay
- District of Saanich
- District of Sooke
- Township of View Royal
- District of Central Saanich
- Town of Sidney
- District of Metchosin
- District of North Saanich
For actively promoting Neighbour Day:
- Victoria Police Department
- Oak Bay Police Department
- Fernwood Community Centre
- Saanich Community Association Network
- BC Francophone Immigration Program
To download a toolkit to help plan Neighbour Day in your community and to learn about the resources available in your municipality, visit www.neighbourdayvictoria.com
\Team Jedi Magic sincerely thanks their coach Annette Siewertsen, as well as all sponsors, volunteers and supporters whose generosity and dedication made this project possible. They give special thanks to The Cridge Centre for the Family for partnering with them on this project and being such an important part of its success, and the Building Resilient Neighbourhoods Project for being their Legacy Partner and carrying this project forward.