SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – More than 700 people from across the United States are enrolled in an online class offered monthly by University of Missouri Extension known as Neighboring 101.

Class instructor and organizer David Burton, a community development specialist with MU Extension, says since the class began in late 2019, courses and videos have had over 10,000 views or attendees.

"Neighboring is defined as the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live in closest proximity to you. It is community development from the grassroots up, and it can begin with you, right where you live," said Burton. "The guest speakers we have lined up for 2023 should inspire anyone interested in improving their community or neighborhood."

To attend any of the upcoming classes live or gain access to the class videos, you must register for Neighboring 101 at

You can register for Neighboring 101 with a one-time fee of $25. Individuals who register can attend the monthly class via Zoom or access recordings of the previous classes.


Jan. 19 - Representatives of the cities of Arvada, Colo., Peoria, Ariz., and Excelsior Springs, Mo., will be our special guests as they share about their citywide neighboring initiatives.

Feb. 16 - Peter Lovenheim is an author and journalist whose articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Washington Post, and other publications. He is our guest this month because of a book he wrote about 10 years ago: "In the Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time."

March 16 - Annual Mister Rogers Lecture. This year we welcome: Maxwell King, author of the New York Times-bestselling biography "The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers."

April 20 - Melody Warnick, author of "This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live” will join us live. The average restless American will move 11.7 times in a lifetime. For Warnick, her sixth move - from Austin, Texas, to Blacksburg, Va. - threatened to unhinge her. In the lonely aftermath of unpacking, she wondered: Aren't we supposed to put down roots at some point? These are the lessons she learned in her journey.

May 18 - Majora Carter is the author of the 2022 nationally acclaimed book, "Reclaiming Your Community: You Don’t Have to Move Out of Your Neighborhood to Live In a Better One." In her book she shows how brain drain cripples low-status communities and maps out a development strategy focused on talent retention to help them break out of economic stagnation. (Book provided to first 40 who request one starting in January).

June 15, July 20 and Aug. 17 - Introducing a new curriculum and approach to neighboring Three sessions of virtual Neighborhood Lab to discover the gifts in your own neighborhood. Each month is a different lessons, with homework to apply at home.

Sept. 21 - planning and reports on National Good Neighbor Day and Missouri Good Neighbor Week. We want to hear and celebrate your plans and help others develop a strategy.

Oct. 19 - Don Everts, author of the "Discovering Your Gifts" and other articles related to neighboring and Asset-Based Community Development.

Nov. 16 - TBA

Dec. 21 – TBA

Previous classes included an introduction to the Hopeful Neighborhood Project, Chris Rodell, author of "Growing Up in Mister Rogers' Real Neighborhood," Mike Mather, author of "Having Everything, Possessing Nothing," DeaMon Harges, a community listener from Indianapolis and other nationally known speakers.

"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."


For Missourians, Neighboring 101 is the entry point to our Becoming an Engaged Neighbor program, a program unlike any other nationally. Drawing upon the resources of the University of Missouri, we offer a network empowered by research-based education, trained and passionate individuals, and community-minded organizations to create neighborhoods that are clean, safe and friendly. Nothing benefits Missouri communities more than connecting neighbors, growing social capital and creating a sense of belonging among residents of Missouri communities, both rural and urban.

Individuals that enroll in Neighboring 101 receive:

  • Exclusive access to the monthly online class;
  • A monthly digital newsletter focused on neighboring;
  • Regular office hours to access David Burton for neighborhood coaching;
  • Resources for bringing Missouri Good Neighbor Week to your town;
  • Notice of other related classes like the Neighborhood Leadership Academy; and
  • The joy of being part of a growing network of engaged neighbors.


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 online at or by contacting David Burton at or 417-881-8909.

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