Join Us in Celebrating the Beloved Legacy of Mister Rogers

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor…”

Everyone’s favorite neighbor is being celebrated this year on Wednesday, March 20 during Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day.

Fred Mcfeely Rogers made a lasting impact on the world, but ask any Pittsburgh native, and we’ll undoubtedly talk your ear off about his wonderful legacy.

Let’s not forget, production of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood happened right in our local area! Just imagine it, Mister Rogers strolling through Shadyside in his famous sneakers to take classes during his lunch break at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Our property manager, a Pittsburgh native who has been with Franklin West for 20 years, even had the opportunity to meet Mister Rogers. She recalls, “One day, while showing apartments, I saw him strolling down Shady Avenue … I was so excited that I had to stop, apologize to the client,  and go introduce myself. It is “up there” as one of the most exciting moments of my life!”

Plus, over the years, cast and crew members even lived in Franklin West apartments. Oh, if only walls could talk, the stories they would tell.

His Kindness Legacy

Did you know Fred Rogers was also a composer and author? According to the Fred Rogers Company, Rogers wrote several children’s books. Publishers Weekly praised his last book, Mister Rogers Parenting Book for the “qualities of warmth and attentiveness that translate very well into this brief yet thorough parenting guide.” Also, a composer and lyricist of over 200 songs, he actually wrote all of the music for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Simply wanting to spread kindness, compassion, and learning, Rogers became an American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, and producer. All of which he implemented through Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Using mass media to encourage his kindness message, Fred Rogers defended the $20 million federal funding for national public television in front of the Senate Commerce Committee, which was at risk of being cut in half. Watch Fred Rogers testify to Senate in May of 1961:

He graciously accepted several awards for his life’s work including two George Foster Peabody Awards, Emmys and others from special interest groups in education, communication, and early childhood. Rogers’ also notably received the TCA Career Achievement Award in 1997 for his inspiring work on television and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 recognizing his contribution to the well-being of children.

His life work and achievements stem from the idea that it continues to live on. In 1971, Fred Rogers created the Family Communications, Inc, a nonprofit company, which produced Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Today, this company has transitioned into The Fred Rogers Company and moved toward non-broadcast materials reflecting Rogers philosophy and purpose. That purpose remains to encourage the healthy emotional growth of children and their families.

Continue reading about Fred Rogers life accomplishments here.

Celebrations around Pittsburgh

Here’s how you can celebrate Mister Rogers legacy on what would be his 91st birthday, March 20, 2019!

Tune into WQED at 7 pm for Be My Neighbor day and become a volunteer to help families in need. Read more about the pledge here.

Admission to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will be free from 10 am to 5 pm today. Plus, CMOP will also host many programs to honor the great Fred Rogers including neighborly themed kindness activities! Get more details here.

Starting at 12 pm today, volunteers with Awesome Pittsburgh will hang around Downtown, Northside, and East End giving away $10 to Pittsburghers to encourage small acts of kindness. Read more here.

Don’t forget, Heinz History Center, located in the Strip District, has a Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood display and has plans for a 50th-anniversary celebration during the month of March with special exhibitions and programs.

Want more ways to celebrate Mr. Rogers Birthday? Click here!

4 Ways to be a Good Neighbor:

Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of work or family needs that being neighborly may take a back seat. Especially if you live in apartments. But, while Mister Rogers kindness message in mind, here’s how little actions can have monumental outcomes.   

Simply be considerate. There are some obvious ones like not stomping or slamming doors. Sometimes though, you just can’t help it. Let’s say you’re in the mood to redecorate. Moving furniture or hanging pictures on the wall at 2 am may be something to avoid. However, if you’re doing it during the day, give those around you a quick visit to let them know and apologize if the noise is inconvenient. This also isn’t a bad way to meet your neighbors!

Keep in mind saying hello or giving a smile can go a long way. Mister Rogers once said, “Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.”

Trade small favors. Have an elderly neighbor? Find out if he or she needs anything the next time you run to the store. Offer to share your umbrella when you and a neighbor head in the same direction on a rainy day. While winter months are coming to an end, Pennsylvania weather still likes to surprise us every now and then, so offer to help clean the snow off a neighbor’s car.   

Random acts of kindness. Buy a book of the Forever postage stamps honoring Mister Rogers and give one stamp to each of your neighbors.

Out of everything he accomplished, Fred Rogers made the choice to dedicate his life’s work for the benefit of children and their families. Whether you are new to Pittsburgh or not, get to know Fred Rogers and his legacy. We can learn a lot from him and his teachings.

“Won’t you please, please won’t you be my neighbor?”