SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missourians are encouraged to participate in events and activities to help establish connections with their neighbors during the second annual Missouri Good Neighbor Week, Sept. 28 to Oct 4.
The official website for the week is http://missourigoodneighborweek.com. The celebration is created, organized and supported by University of Missouri Extension in Greene County and The Hopeful Neighborhood Project, headquartered in St. Louis.
Missouri Good Neighbor Week was recognized nationally in May 2023 at the annual Neighborhoods USA conference as the neighborhood program of the year for the United States.
“With all of the national attention this week has received, we have increased our goal for reported acts of neighboring and have big future plans, but we do need Missourians to take action and then participate by reporting what they did on our website,” said David Burton, MU Extension community development specialist. “This is also a great time for state residents to nominate someone for recognition as the most engaged neighbor in Missouri.”
NOMINATING NEIGHBORS, REPORTING ACTIONS
You can easily nominate top engaged neighbors and report acts of neighboring at http://missourigoodneighborweek.com.
Contact information submitted is used to reporting purposes and for mailing of prizes. This year, all engaged neighbor nominees will receive a unique keychain by mail, and the top 10 nominees statewide will receive $100 and a frameable certificate. Those judged to have done the “top acts of neighboring” will receive the same prize package.
A submission is an entry to both the statewide and county recognition programs.
GOALS EXCEEDED IN 2022
Missourians from all walks of life celebrated the first Missouri Good Neighbor Week (Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, 2022). The goal was to record 10,000 acts of neighboring, but the week ended with 12,854 acts reported and more than 113 people nominated as engaged neighbors. Nominations of individuals or reports of neighboring came from 63 of Missouri’s 114 counties.
"I love discussing the acts of neighboring that got reported," said Burton. "These are the stories that do not normally make the news but are the behaviors that are impactful to our own health, community, and neighborhoods."
Reading about neighboring acts across Missouri was inspiring, said Jennifer Prophete, program director for The Hopeful Neighborhood Project.
"There were big events like the rose giveaway in Houston and simpler efforts across the state," said Prophete. "Every story of an individual going out of their way for their neighbors was inspiring. Great job, Missourians!"
Last year, 10 Missourians were recognized with statewide awards for the best acts of neighboring, and 11 were recognized statewide as the most engaged neighbors. Learn more in the MU Extension news release “17 Missourians recognized with statewide awards following first Missouri Good Neighbor Week.”
HISTORY OF MISSOURI GOOD NEIGHBOR WEEK
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed HB1738 on July 1, 2022, establishing the special week and making Missouri the first state to designate a week for neighbors. The bill was introduced by state Rep. Bishop Davidson, a resident of Republic, the city of residence for David Burton.
The celebration period begins on Sept. 28, which is also National Good Neighbor Day (first created in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter). The week is jointly organized by University of Missouri Extension and the Hopeful Neighborhood Project.
“Research shows us that knowing one's neighbors reduces loneliness, crime and isolation, leading to safer and more vibrant communities,” said Burton. “Missouri setting aside a whole week is a real game-changer, I think, at a time it is desperately needed.”
Neighboring is the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live in the closest proximity to you. Being a good neighbor offers tremendous health benefits, lowers crime, reduces loneliness, combats depression, improves communities and enhances quality of life.
For more information, contact David Burton at 417-881-8909 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jennifer Prophete, program director for the Hopeful Neighborhood Project can be emailed at Jennifer.email@example.com.