Missouri Good Neighbor Week Gains Momentum in 2023, Blows Past Goal
- Published: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Missourians from all walks of life celebrated the first Missouri Good Neighbor Week (Sept. 28 to Oct. 4) by doing and reporting neighboring acts and nominating others as the most engaged neighbors in their respective counties.
For the second year, University of Missouri Extension and The Hopeful Neighborhood Project teamed up to sponsor the week across Missouri.
"Every day is a great day to be an engaged neighbor, but Missouri Good Neighbor Week allows us to focus on what it means," said David Burton, community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension and creator of Missouri Good Neighbor Week.
The goal for the week had been to document 15,000 acts of neighboring. But instead, Missourians reported 19,752 acts of neighboring during Missouri Good Neighbor Week.
Other highlights from the week show the growth of Missouri Good Neighbor Week.
- 2.4 million media impressions from television PSAs, news stories and columns in 24 Missouri newspapers.
- 2302 downloads of graphics and planning packets from the Missouri Good Neighbor Week Google drive.
- 8973 unique visitors to the Missouri Good Neighbor Week website.
- 60 people were nominated for recognition as one of Missouri's most engaged neighbors.
- 74 special service projects were performed statewide during the week.
- 1,183 individuals reported doing acts of neighboring during the week.
INSPIRING EVENTS AND ACTS
While the numbers are impressive, the individual stories of neighboring are what matter.
"Reading the submitted acts of neighboring has been inspiring. These are the stories that do not normally make the news but are the behaviors that impact our community health," said Burton.
Here are a few significant examples from across the state.
- Shari McCallister worked with D&L Florist (Houston, Missouri) and community sponsors to distribute 5,078 roses on September 28 across Texas County to neighbors and community heroes. Over 400 individuals participated in the project.
- The City of Springfield, KY3-TV, and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board organized five neighborhood block parties in five different parks in Springfield. The events had extensive media coverage and all attracted over 1,000 residents.
- An organization in Maplewood (MapleGOOD) hosted a "Rock and Roll" neighborhood event featuring local dancers and a rock painting group that beautified the community and handed out 200 bags of cookies to community leaders.
- 61 county MU Extension councils conducted a day of service during the week that involved hundreds of volunteers and reached thousands of Missourians with projects at various community pantries, shelters, organizations, and special events.
Burton says while the community stories are impressive, even more impressive were the everyday neighbors who were acknowledged for their daily care for their neighbors.
"From Stacie, who shared home-grown produce with her neighbors, to Cassi, who helped an elderly neighbor with her lawn and flowers. Every story of an individual going out of their way for their neighbors was inspiring," said Burton.
Leaders want to keep the momentum of Missouri Good Neighbor Week going in 2024.
"After nearly doubling the reported acts of neighboring from 2022, we know we have hit upon something that inspires people to act. We think a further key to expansion is partnerships with cities, libraries, and other organizations," said Prophete.
Another goal is to improve the reporting of acts of neighboring and nominations. The number of nominations for the most engaged neighbor was down by 40 percent this year.
"My dream is to have sponsors who commit to donating a certain amount of money for every reported act of neighboring. Right now, people have little incentive to take action and report it. Maybe every act of neighboring reported generates one dollar for Convoy of Hope, something like that," said Burton. "We know of numerous examples of people taking action because of the week but not reporting it, and we need to do more to incentivize the reporting."
AWARD ANNOUNCEMENT SOON
After verification and committee selections, individual award winners for acts of neighboring and recipients of the most engaged neighbor in Missouri awards will be announced toward the end of October.
Until then, the Missouri Good Neighbor Week website remains open, including a document on 101 Acts of Neighboring (http://missourigoodneighborweek.com). It is never too late to become more engaged in your neighborhood.
Missouri's Governor signed legislation HB1738 on July 1, 2022, establishing Missouri Good Neighbor Week. The week begins on Sept. 28, also National Good Neighbor Day (first created in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter). Being a good neighbor offers tremendous health benefits, reduces crime, reduces loneliness, improves communities, and improves our quality of life.
For more information, contact David Burton, community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension, by phone at (417) 881-8909 or by email at [email protected] or online at http://engagedneighbor.com.
Writer: David Burton