Jennifer Gustafson, Community Outreach Manager, Neighbors Who Care
“Won’t you be my neighbor?” were the iconic lyrics sung by the late Fred Rogers, aka Mister Rogers, on his children’s television show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which first aired nationally in 1968.
It has been a while since Mister Rogers graced the airways, but he has once again become relevant. A cinematic documentary on his life was recently released, called Won’t You Be My Neighbor? After watching this behind-the-scenes look into his mindset, heart and passion, I was reminded why I was so drawn to his PBS show as a child. Mister Rogers knew how to be a good neighbor.
Behind Mister Rogers’ success was his ability to offer comfort and validation, while helping to cope with the realities of life. No matter your background or circumstance, he made everyone feel special for being who they were. I would think most would agree that his calm and reassuring style still makes sense today in how we can all treat each other in a neighborly manner.
That’s what we are all about at Neighbors Who Care. With our mission to support senior independence through volunteer services, our volunteers touch the lives of those in our community who may have no one else to help them.
Our need for more volunteers is currently greater than ever. We serve upward of 600 clients with free-of-charge assistance, and we have approximately 400 volunteers who are on call to lend a hand. In the summer, however, roughly 30 percent of our volunteers leave the area, but our clients remain and still need help. As you can imagine, this poses a huge challenge in meeting our clients’ needs.
Would you please consider answering the question, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” by becoming a Neighbors Who Care volunteer? There is no minimum commitment required, and we work around your availability and your interest in the many services we offer including transportation, dinner delivery, shopping/errands, friendly visiting, and minor repairs. Plus, being there for your neighbors just feels good.
In the words of Fred Rogers, “One of the greatest gifts you can give anybody is the gift of your honest self.” He also said, “Deep down, we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is helping others win, too.”
For more information about volunteering with Neighbors Who Care, please call (480) 895-7133 or visit our website at www.neighborswhocare.com.