SPRINGFIELD, MO. — Nine neighborhoods in Greene County are part of a pilot project launched March 1, 2021, as part of University of Missouri Extension’s new “Engaged Neighbor” program. Funding for this project is provided by the Greene County MU Extension Council and the Greene County Commission.
Neighborhoods in the project include Stoney Creek Estates (Republic), Legacy Trails Subdivision (Springfield), McAl Neighborhood (Springfield), Village of Brookline (Republic), The Meadows (Willard/Springfield), Serenity Valley (Ash Grove), Rankin Acres (Republic), Auburn Hills (Republic) and Vintage Hills (Springfield).
“These neighborhoods are very different in location, demographics, size, and governance,” said David Burton, county engagement specialist with MU Extension. “My first goal is to develop a culture in these neighborhoods that help residents to see their neighborhood as safer, friendlier, and cleaner. That is part of what we will be surveying residents about regularly.”
The ultimate goal is to develop practical examples of creating a culture of neighborliness that can be exported to other neighborhoods and other states.
“We have individuals around the nation interested in the outcome, including other Habitat for Humanity programs,” said Burton.
The program’s success depends on locating individuals willing to serve as “connectors” in their neighborhood or on their street. The connectors become the primary leadership and communication team for the entire effort.
By becoming an engaged neighbor, an individual, neighborhood, and community are improved, loneliness is reduced, and neighborhoods become more healthy and inclusive.
“Neighboring is the art and skill of building relationships with the people who live in closest proximity to you. Neighboring begins by learning and using names, it grows through associations, and ultimately it bears fruit with engaged neighbors who can positively impact their neighborhood and their community,” said Burton.
University of Missouri Extension is at the forefront of a national movement that recognizes the importance of neighboring in community development. As community leaders and advocates, we encourage friends to learn the names of all their neighbors, build relationships with their neighbors through common interests and shared experiences, and sustain compassionate and caring practices of neighborly love.
To learn more about our “Engaged Neighbor” program, or for more on the impact of neighboring, go online to https://extension.missouri.edu or contact David Burton by email at
[email protected] or telephone at (417) 881-8909.
“Becoming an Engaged Neighbor” can also be found on Facebook.
Author: David Burton, County Engagement and Community Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension