SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Neighboring 101 is not just for new homeowners or people new to community life. The ongoing program is for anyone wanting to improve their neighborhood or community as well as their personal life and health.

Over 800 people across the United States are enrolled in this University of Missouri Extension class. Individuals who register can attend the monthly class via Zoom or access recordings of the previous classes.

Class instructor and organizer David Burton, a community development specialist with MU Extension, says courses and videos have had more than 12,000 views or attendees since the class began in late 2019.

“The guest speakers we have lined up for 2024 should inspire anyone interested in improving their community or neighborhood,” said Burton. “In these classes, we will look at the science and art of neighboring by highlighting examples across the nation where it is being done well. Past guests have included neighborhood award winners, practitioners, authors and researchers.”

According to Burton, being an active and engaged neighbor can help people, organizations, and communities expand participation while respecting differences and embracing the diversity that makes communities vibrant.

To attend any of the upcoming classes live or gain access to the class videos, register for Neighboring 101 at . There is a one-time fee of $25. Class reminders and links are emailed to registered class members.

Neighboring 101 participants also receive a special digital newsletter for the class.


January: “Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt To Love Her Neighbor” with author Kendra Broekhuis.

February: “Creating and Sustaining a Love Your Neighbor Week in Your Town.” A panel discussion with Shawn Bolderjack, Justin Perry and Rachel Privett, the main organizers for Love Thy Neighbor in Dent County, Missouri.

March: “The Mister Rogers Effect: 7 Secrets to Bringing Out the Best in Yourself and Others From America’s Beloved Neighbor” with author Anita Knight Kuhnley.

April: “The Changing American Neighborhood” with author Todd Swanstrom.


In 2023, Burton started offering additional “bonus” sessions of Neighboring 101 when opportunities arose to have a timely or special speaker.

A bonus session is already scheduled for Feb. 29 when Richard C. Harwood, author of “Unleashed,” published by Kettering Foundation Press, join us live.

In that book, Harwood asks two critical questions. 1. How can we unleash the innate potential of people, institutions and groups in communities to address our common challenges? 2. How can we do this by creating a civic culture where people come together to shape their lives and gain real hope?

Americans yearn to create a society that reflects the best of us, the best in us. In Unleashed, Harwood helps us see how we can create a more equitable, fair, inclusive and hopeful path forward.

You must register for this free session with Harwood at


Previous classes have included nationally known authors, including Mike Mather, (“Having Everything, Possessing Nothing”), Seth Kaplan (“Fragile Neighborhoods”), Melody Warnick (“Love Where You Live”), Peter Lovenhiem, (“In Your Neighborhood”), Dave Runyon (“The Art of Neighboring”), Maxwell King (“The Life of Mister Rogers”) and Majora Carter (“Reclaiming Your Community”), along with other nationally known speakers and practitioners.

“This is a big topic that impacts every one of us where we live so we have a lot of ground to cover,” said Burton. “I hear from those who attend this class all the time saying it is an encouragement to them and that they learn all types of new ideas from our speakers.”


University of Missouri Extension is at the forefront of a national movement recognizing the importance of neighboring in community development. More about the impact of neighboring can be found at or by contacting David Burton at or 417-881-8909.