Missouri Good Neighbor Week named Program of the Year at Neighborhoods USA conference
- Published: Tuesday, June 6, 2023
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David Burton, a community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension, returned from the 48th annual Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) conference in El Paso, Texas, May 24-28, with the Best Neighborhood Program award.
This year's conference drew more than 625 people from 34 states and featured educational workshops, speakers, tours, networking opportunities and an awards program.
A panel of judges at the national conference made final award decisions and presented awards in 10 categories.
"It was an honor to have my work recognized nationally," said Burton. "Being named Program of the Year certainly places a stamp of approval on Missouri Good Neighbor Week, and I hope it motivates other organizations and individuals to get involved across the state."
BEST NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAM
First-place honors went to David Burton in the Best Neighborhood Program category for Missouri Good Neighbor Week in 2022. Also recognized was program partner Jennifer Prophete with the Hopeful Neighborhood Project in St. Louis.
During the 2022 Missouri Good Neighbor Week, there were 12,854 documented acts of neighboring in 63 counties. As part of the week, MU Extension and the Hopeful Neighborhood Project recognized 11 individuals and groups for the best act of neighboring statewide. They also honored 10 people who were nominated as the Most Engaged Neighbor in Missouri.
"This program was impactful because of the many volunteers involved and my partnership with the Hopeful Neighborhood Project," said Burton. "The judges liked the volume of participants, the variety of things that took place, our unique website, and they loved that we improved on our county program in 2021 to take it statewide."
Missouri is the only state to celebrate neighboring for an entire week. State Rep. Bishop Davidson introduced a bill in 2022 establishing Missouri Good Neighbor Week, and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed it in July.
Burton hopes more organizations, businesses, churches and individuals get involved with Missouri Good Neighbor Week in 2023.
"I would say start making plans now for the week," said Burton. "Whether it is something on your driveway, your street or your whole community, plan now to make connecting with neighbors something you do every year during this designated week. And then report it to us!"
Find more information at MissouriGoodNeighborWeek.com.
"This was an extremely competitive category," said Precious McKesson, NUSA president. "All of the finalists were very good. We were very impressed with the results of Missouri Good Neighbor Week and believe it has merit as a national approach to get people talking about neighboring simultaneously."
FIRST PLACE NEWSLETTERS
Burton won first place for a printed neighborhood newsletter produced by an agency or nonprofit for Your Neighborhood News, which is distributed to residents of a multi-neighborhood area. He received this same honor in 2022.
He was also awarded first place for the best digital newsletter by an agency or nonprofit for his Engaged Neighborhood Newsletter. This was also a repeat winner from 2022. Anyone can subscribe to the Engaged Neighbor Newsletter at EngagedNeighbor.com.
Joyce Cox of Memphis, Tennessee, judged the newsletter categories. "Both of the Engaged Neighbor newsletters do a great job of reaching a unique audience. They are professionally written and designed, and I liked the emphasis on neighbor-to-neighbor relationships," said Cox.
NUSA is a non-profit organization created in 1975 to share information and experiences among neighbors and neighborhoods to build stronger communities. NUSA continues to encourage networking and information-sharing to facilitate the development of partnerships among neighborhood organizations, government, and the private sector to strengthen neighborhoods. The organization can be found at nusa.org.
University of Missouri Extension is at the forefront of a national movement recognizing the importance of neighboring in community development. Learn more about the Engaged Neighbor Project at muext.us/EngagedNeighborProject, or contact David Burton at [email protected] or 417-881-8909.
Writer: David Burton