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March 20 was Won't You Be My Neighbor Day. On this day, community-minded people took part in activities to honor Mr. Rogers' birthday. The Hopeful Neighborhood Project (HNP) partnered with the University of Missouri Extension to invite people around the U.S. to engage in activities to bring people together and build up the social health of their neighborhoods.

"Honoring a man who's been like a neighbor to us all is a nice fit with HNP," says Jennifer Prophete, LHM's director of community programming. "Mr. Rogers tirelessly reminded people that their personal involvement contributed to the diversity and uniqueness of their neighborhoods."

To inspire participation, HNP offered ideas and resources. Downloadable coloring sheets, a live virtual workshop, and a video tutorial were developed for participants to hand letter, "It's a Beautiful Day in this Neighborhood," on paper or by using sidewalk chalk. The Won't You Be My Neighbor website designed by HNP asked people to provide their ZIP codes, which automatically created a map reflecting nationwide participation. The website also provided an opportunity to submit a brief action report and photo of their activity.

Results show people in 23 states joined the fun, representing more than 80 neighborhoods coast to coast. Feedback and social engagement was strong with some 1,300 hits to, and numerous downloads of the "It's a Beautiful Day in this Neighborhood" poster. Additionally, there were more than 100 shares of social posts for the event.

Some of the activities included people giving cookies and brownies to their neighbors, attaching a poster to the shared goodies. Sidewalk chalk was used to decorate the spaces in front of people's homes, telling passersby about the special day honoring Mr. Rogers and his work. One person sent thank-you notes to those doing good in their neighborhoods. Another printed 82 posters for all the homes on her block to post. There was even a chicken coop donated to a neighbor to celebrate the day!

An encouraging validation of the HNP-MU Extension work came from Maxwell King. He is the author of The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers. King shared the work and resources of the HNP-MU Extension with the folks at the Fred Rogers Institute, located on the campus of Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Rogers' hometown. The institute features curated displays, memorabilia, and an archive detailing Rogers' life and his longtime role as the TV host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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