Be My Neighbor Day 1

Diary of a First Time Mom is excited to partner with The Motherhood and The Fred Rogers Company to promote #BeMyNeighborDay. I have received some form of compensation for this campaign. However, all opinions remain my own.  

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, A beautiful day for  a neighbor, Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

As I sing this song in celebration of Mister Rogers’ birthday today, I yell out, yes! I was in fact Mister Rogers’ neighbor. As a matter of fact, this morning I had a meeting about Kidsburgh at WQED-TV–the PBS affiliate where the man most famous for being friendly taped his television show. When I was two-years-old–the same age as my daughter Caitlynn, I met Mister Rogers in person. I nearly peed my pants with excitement! My aunt, a renowned preschool teacher and good friend of who she called Fred, introduced me. We even shared a snack.

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Not too long ago, I learned Mister Rogers was being replaced–with a tiger! I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, that at 36, my feelings were hurt. Who could replace the most popular person in Pittsburgh–make that the world. When Mister Rogers was alive, even he could not find a predeccessor.

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Then, Caitlynn asked to watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on my iPad. I logged on and pulled up an episode. One of the characters looked like my daughter! She was a pretty brown girl with afro puffs. I was starting to feel better about this new neighborhood. After watching one program, Caitlynn exclaimed that it was her favorite show and that she really liked Daniel. Perhaps as much as Cailou. And you know what, I did too!

That’s why I was excited to learn that the United Way of Allegheny County, in partnership with The Fred Rogers Company and WQED, is hosting “Be My Neighbor Day”  this Saturday, March 22, 2014. Four YMCA locations (Baierl Family YMCA Sewickley, Western Area YMCA Coraopolis, Penn Hills YMCA and Thelma Lovett YMCA Hill District) will host a variety of fun, free, family-friendly activities to give children the opportunity to practice being neighborly. And the best part–Daniel Tiger will make his first Pittsburgh appearance as part of the event. Families work on crafts together that benefit local communities and participate in YMCA Healthy Kids activities. Additionally, in honor of Rogers’ favorite attire, families are encouraged to bring a new or gently worn sweater, which will be distributed to needy families throughout the region.

According to President of The Fred Rogers Company William Isler (who by the way is about as nice as Mister Rogers!) , “Be My Neighbor Day” the event, like the new series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, embodies the values Fred Rogers stood for and carries his timeless message to a new generation of children.

Tips for Being Neighborly

To help encourage neighborliness with your little ones at home, here are some tips inspired by the “Neighbor Day” episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood that will help show your children that doing something nice for their neighbors can be a rewarding experience that makes them feel good about themselves!
  • Volunteer!:  Check out your local food bank, library or neighborhood park for opportunities for your family to contribute, whether it is going through your house with your preschooler and donating extra canned goods or old books  or helping plant brand-new trees!
  • Play outside and meet new people!:  Bring your young children for a fun visit at the neighborhood playground, so they can make new friends and interact with old friends, too!
  • Ask to help!:  When your family sees someone who might need a hand, offer it!  Work together with an elderly neighbor who needs extra assistance in their yard or even have your preschooler help take care of a friend’s pet while they’re away on an end-of-summer trip.  You can also just talk with your child about times when you helped someone in need.
  • Smile and say, hello!:  Sometimes the littlest things makes the biggest difference!  When you are walking through your own neighborhood with your kids, greet passing neighbors with a friendly smile and a “hello” – you might just brighten someone’s day!
  • Make Coupons for Giving: Help your child create homemade paper coupons for kind and helpful acts, like “a hug,” “help with household chores” or “reading a book to a younger sibling.

Won’t you be my neighbor and attend this exciting event? Find out all the details by logging onto www.bemyneighborday.org. In the meantime, share in the comment box below how you teach your child to be neighborly.

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the Board of Directors for Big Sisters Big Brothers and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp Campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 3-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 40+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

  • Ronnie

    I also loved Mr. Rogers and I will have to make sure my kids check out Daniel. Thanks for the tips on being neighborly. It is not as easy as it used to be to get to know your neighbors. But I am finding that the more I volunteer at the school..the more people I am meeting. And attending the community events is a great way to get to know your neighbors…GET Involved.