Volunteerism + Fun = Be My Neighbor Day
Since 1968, when MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD made its national public television debut, Fred Rogers began each episode with his simple signature question in song: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
And now, on or around Mister Rogers’ March 20 birthday, a partnership between United Way Allegheny County, Fred Rogers Company, and WQED/Pittsburgh helps Mister Rogers’ work and message live on via Be My Neighbor Day. The event offers the chance for neighbors to meet neighbors and promotes a spirit of volunteerism - a natural extension of Fred Rogers’ legacy of neighborliness.
In 2014, four YMCAs across Pittsburgh hosted family-friendly activities that let children practice being a good neighbor. Kids and families learned about acts of kindness, participated in activities that benefitted the community and met Daniel Tiger, the star of the popular PBS KIDS program DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD. WQED promoted the event across communications platforms and Fred Rogers Company worked with WQED to provide educational content and activities within the volunteerism theme.
First responders were on hand to greet children and talk about their community-facing work. Among other hands-on activities, children assembled snack bags for 6th graders in a mentoring program to use on state testing day, as well as decorated placemats for home-bound seniors. Each child also had the opportunity to plant a sunflower to help beautify the neighborhood. In addition, the event locations collected clothing and sweaters for the homeless.
But it wasn’t only the kids who had a great day in the neighborhood. Parents too loved the educational event, especially because it promoted positive values and helped spark conversations with their children about what it means to be a good neighbor.
“My boys had a blast and it led to some good conversation about ‘community’ and ‘neighbors’ and what it means to be a good citizen,” said one parent.
The event also helped attendees understand the United Way’s work in the community and connect with the wide range of education services WQED offers local children, educators and families.