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National Good Neighbor Day: Celebrate with Weeklong Challenge
Missouri Ag Connection - 09/13/2021

Developing relationships with our neighbors may provide a solution to the national epidemic of loneliness and the feelings of isolation and depression that so many have, says David Burton, University of Missouri Extension county engagement specialist in Greene County.

National Good Neighbor Day is Sept. 28 and MU Extension in Greene County and other local sponsors are encouraging Greene County residents -- and others across the state -- to celebrate good neighboring by participating in the 1,000 Acts of Neighboring Challenge.

From Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, every person who reports an act of neighboring will be entered into random drawings for over $1,000 in gift cards and other neighbor-related prizes. Additionally, the best examples of neighboring in each Greene County community can receive a cash prize of up to $250. Select participants from outside Greene County are also eligible to receive gift cards and "swag."

"Current research shows many Americans suffer from a lack of personal relationships, which leads to isolation, depression and anger," Burton says. "At the same time, less than 3% of Americans say they know the names of their neighbors, know a fact about them and have spoken to their neighbors in the last month."

Burton encourages residents to use the week as an opportunity to start meeting neighbors they do not already know. Plan and organize a neighbor get-together or workday. Host a simple event like donuts on the driveway or goodies in the garage. Use chalk to write inspiring and welcoming quotes on the sidewalks.

You can find 100 fresh and fun ideas on how to neighbor at extension.missouri.edu/news/ky3-and-the-mu-extension-are-teaming-up-for-100-acts-of-neighboring-and-kindness-5263.

Various articles about neighboring -- such as "Acts of Neighboring Are Easier Than Many People Imagine" -- and details about MU Extension's Engaged Neighbor program can be found at extension.missouri.edu.

Details about the challenge, how to participate and the Engaged Neighbor program can be found at extension.missouri.edu/counties/greene/neighboring-project.

Neighboring class begins Oct. 11

Burton and other MU Extension specialists also are teaching "Becoming an Engaged Neighbor" online statewide starting Oct. 11.

The six-session class, held via Zoom, includes videos from national experts, handouts and participation in a local neighborhood project. Participants will have opportunities for future training and events with other engaged neighbors.

Register at extension.missouri.edu/events/becoming-an-engaged-neighbor.

"There is a lot to learn when it comes to neighboring," says Burton. "We also know the best way to learn is to practice."

Neighboring is the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live closest to you, Burton says. Being a good neighbor offers tremendous health benefits, leads to reductions in crime, decreases loneliness, enhances communities and improves quality of life.

MU Extension is at the forefront of a national movement that recognizes the importance of neighboring in community development, Burton says. MU Extension is offering classes like "Neighboring 101" and "Becoming an Engaged Neighbor" along with two annual neighboring events to raise awareness and encourage others to focus on neighbors.

To learn more about the Engaged Neighbor program and the impact of neighboring, visit extension.missouri.edu or contact Burton at burtond@missouri.edu or 417-881-8909. "Becoming an Engaged Neighbor" is also on Facebook at facebook.com/BecomingAnEngagedNeighbor.


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