Neighboring Series at Greene County Library Begins March 13 in Honor of Mister Rogers

  • Published: Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Want to be healthier and happier in 2021? Then we encourage area residents to get to know a neighbor and reach out to them in a responsible way.

Experts say that neighborly trust and connections can boost your physical and mental health.

Guest speakers dropping in for these virtual programs in March at the Springfield-Greene County Library say that neighborliness can also strengthen the connection you feel to your community and help you love where you live. 

"Greene County MU Extension is excited to be a partner with the library district in bringing this program to area residents," said David Burton, county engagement specialist with University of Missouri Extension. "It is a great way to celebrate Mister Roger's birthday on March 20.

The planned programs for that week in March include the following. Information on each program can be found by searching the title online at


A unique one-night program of "Neighboring 101" will be hosted by the library on Tuesday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. Developing relationships with your neighbors can help combat social isolation and build stronger communities, but taking that first step is challenging. 

David Burton, county engagement specialist with the Greene County MU Extension Office, shares strategies for connecting with your neighborhood and the benefits you can reap from knowing your neighbors. He will offer neighboring tips for leaders, introverts, children, and families that can, over time, change your neighborhood.

Registration starts March 2; visit to register. A link to the virtual event will be shared with registered participants.

Thursday, March 18 at 7 p.m., freelance writer and author Melody Warnick discusses place attachment, being neighborly, and what it takes to feel truly rooted in your town or city. Warnick is the author of "This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving Where You Live."

Warnick says American's "creativity, sheer altruism, and a whole lot of time on our hands to reach out to neighbors in a social distance–respecting way…" is an advantage we should seize. 

This program is sponsored by the Library Foundation and the Greene County MU Extension Office. Registration starts March 4; visit to register. A link to the virtual event will be shared with registered participants.


We invite you to turn the talk into action by taking part in our "100 Acts f Community Kindness Challenge" for one week, from March 13 to March 20. If you don't know where to start, download the suggested list of 100 acts at

The goal is for the MU Extension and library community to achieve 100 acts of kindness toward their family, friends, neighbors, and strangers throughout the week. 

Send an email to [email protected] and tell us what actions you or your family did that week, if you witnessed an act of kindness, or if you were the recipient of a kind act. If it's something visual, take a photo and send it via email! We will share the actions on our social media channels throughout the day on March 20 – the birthday of the good neighbor himself, Mister Rogers.


This online program via Canvas with MU Extension does have a fee of $50 per person. Participants will learn about the needs for neighboring, ways that it is encouraged in other parts of the nation, and how neighboring can improve our communities. The class includes six sessions taught through a video, useful handouts, and interactive discussion boards. 

The topic of neighboring is very timely, with over 70 percent of Americans saying they feel lonely or isolated. Current social research shows many in our culture suffer from a lack of personal relationships, which leads to isolation, depression, anger, and more. 

Neighboring takes effort. It takes some purposeful planning and time. However, the benefits are plentiful, both personally and for our community. It also presents the opportunity to get to know people that are not like us! With relationships comes trust and understanding. The local course facilitator is David Burton. The course begins March 20, and participants must register in advance online at


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 "Becoming an Engaged Neighbor" program, or for more on the impact of neighboring, go online to or contact David Burton by email at [email protected] or telephone at (417) 881-8909.

Writer: David Burton

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David Burton

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