Celebrate Missouri Good Neighbor Week, Sept. 28-Oct. 4, with a fun act of neighboring

  • Published: Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Performing an act of neighboring is easier than people imagine according to David Burton, a community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Acts of neighboring are often simple gestures that help develop a positive relationship with someone living near you, gives encouragement to others and makes your neighborhood or community a better place to live,” said Burton.

Burton says during his presentations, which people get inspired to become better neighbors, people often think they need to begin by hosting a block party.

“Block parties are fun, but don’t start there. Keep it simple,” said Burton. “Start neighboring by learning the names of your immediate neighbors, finding ways to use the names of your immediate neighbors, and then host or attend small social events with your neighbors.”

Missouri Good Neighbor Week, Sept. 28-Oct. 4, is a great time to take action to build positive relationships with your neighbors. If you want to become a better neighbor, start by picking a date during that week to do something. Then, report what you do on the Missouri Good Neighbor Week website at https://MissouriGoodNeighborWeek.com.

If you need ideas of where to begin, you can download a list of 101 Acts of Neighboring from the Missouri Good Neighbor Week website. Burton says the ideas in that document are things he has tried himself or that others have reported during Missouri Good Neighbor Week.

“Do not be limited by this list. Just consider it a starting point,” said Burton.

Burton says these are a few of his favorite neighboring ideas:

  • Go for a walk and bring a small trash bag to pick up trash along the sidewalk.
  • Use sidewalk chalk to write an inspiring message on the sidewalk in front of your home.
  • If you play a musical instrument, give invitations to your neighbors to attend an outdoor concert on the curb at a given time.
  • Plan a fish fry, BBQ smoke-off or hot wings cooking contest where the neighbors are the judges.
  • Offer a free carwash for neighbors on your driveway.
  • Make a double batch of the cookies you’re baking and bring some to a neighbor.
  • Join your neighborhood association or HOA and help plan social events.
  • Host an outdoor movie night: Project a movie onto a garage or outdoor screen.
  • Create an emergency contact list with your neighbors.
  • Host a neighborhood ping pong or corn hole tournament on your driveway.
  • Write a letter of encouragement to a neighbor.
  • Host a neighborhood book club.
  • Call a neighbor to go on an evening walk together.
  • Host a weekly or monthly coffee bar in your garage for the neighborhood to gather people and get acquainted.
  • Host neighborhood chats in lawn chairs on the driveway.
  • Move a picnic table to your front yard for a gathering spot with neighbors.
  • Host a neighbor for coffee and dessert.
  • Offer to teach a skill you have – like baking, sewing, water color paint, lawn mower repair -- to local neighbors or their children.

Neighboring is the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live in proximity to you. Neighboring begins by learning and using names; it grows through associations; ultimately, it bears fruit with engaged neighbors who can positively impact their neighborhood and community.

University of Missouri Extension is at the forefront of a national movement that recognizes the importance of neighboring in community development. As community leaders and advocates, we encourage friends to learn the names of all their neighbors, build relationships with their neighbors through common interests and shared experiences, and sustain compassionate and caring practices of neighborly love.

To learn more about our Engaged Neighbor program or the impact of neighboring, go to https://engagedneighbor.com or contact David Burton at [email protected] or 417-881-8909.

“Becoming an Engaged Neighbor” can also be found on Facebook

Writer: David Burton

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David Burton

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