TPT hosted “Be My Neighbor Day” March 9th and 10th, 2019, an interactive experience designed to welcome friends – both big and small – to TPT’s neighborhood and to celebrate the enduring legacy of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Take a peek at this special weekend of fun by the numbers.

1,765 people
More than 1,765 showed up at TPT’s studios to learn, play, sing and experience community in a new way. The 90-minute experience was designed to take families on a journey through the things they might find in their own neighborhoods – like the library, bakery, fire and police stations, and community center. Ninety-three percent of attendees said, “We had fun together.”

A father of two young children shared his impression of the event:

“It’s a little bit of fun mixed with creativity and innovation!”

4 characters
After singing along and dancing with Choo Choo Bob, the “conductor” of the journey through Be My Neighbor Day, families headed off to play in an oversized Neighborhood of Make Believe, complete with a trolley, clock and castle modeled after those in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. For many kiddos, photo opps with Daniel Tiger and Katerina Kitty Cat were the highlight of the experience.

Donna Saul Millen, Managing Director of Events & Engagement, at TPT shared:

“Daniel Tiger is a rock star among toddlers who grow up with him on PBS.”

She added, “The kids are adorable. When they see Daniel, their eyes light up. They’re just so excited about it. The energy is incredible!”

Collage of kids event activities
Top L to bottom R: TPT Street Space with Neighborhood learning activities; Sergeant Fuzz meets Daniel Tiger; Choo Choo Bob’s Train Station area and sing-a-long; a brother and sister meet Daniel; a young girl hugs Katerina Kitty Cat; TPT staff at the snack table; Neighborhood of Make Believe; Paper Chain of Kindness station

1 Sergeant Fuzz
Sergeant Fuzz, a police therapy dog, was there to introduce himself to new neighbors at the event. He also wanted to say “woof” to Daniel and Katerina, and get his photo taken with them.

5” of snow
Snow didn’t keep families away from this action-packed morning of fun! In fact, for many families, the free event was the perfect solution for cabin fever! Eighty-seven percent of attendees said, “We feel like we belong in the TPT neighborhood.” One TPT member from Plymouth shared:

“It’s a lot of fun! Great for on a snow day as well!”

18 community partners
Eighteen community partner organizations dedicated 157 community partner hours to helping our young neighbors explore and learn… For example, the Free Book Buggy, a community organization that collects used and new children’s books, and collaborates with organizations at events to get books into the hands of children, was on hand to offer free books to the budding readers at the event.

Table full of children's books
Selection of Free Book Buggy books that were given to children who attended Be My Neighbor Day.

Their goal is to help minimize the literacy gap and help children discover the love of reading. Debbie Beck, founder of the Free Book Buggy shared:

“We just want to thank TPT for having us here. We are happy to support their mission of education and literacy.”

Other partners included the Minnesota Literacy Council, Mill City Museum, AuSM, the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Police and St. Paul Fire Department.

Thank you to these caring neighbors. Seventy-nine percent shared “We learned something new” at the event.

5 event staff
“We put in a lot of hours to put this on. It makes it worthwhile, seeing the benefits on our communities,” said Donna Saul Millen.

TPT’s Events Team of five put in 102 event staff hours, and an astonishing 170,000 event staff steps combined, to pull this off. A mother who attended shared:

“We’ve been to a lot of TPT events and each year the events seem to get better and better.”

70 volunteers

Black man and whote man in red t-shirts and tiger ear headbands standing inside a building
Super-volunteers, Baron and Mike, made event attendees feel at home and welcomed to TPT’s Neighborhood.

Jan Watkins, TPT member and volunteer with the Free Book Buggy shared:

“I feel it’s [TPT] a very important part of the community and I am proud to be here.”

Thoughtful volunteers like Jan dedicated 400-plus hours over the two Be My Neighbor Day events, which included sensory-friendly opportunities for families to explore and learn at their own pace, and in a quiet and supportive atmosphere.

479 chains added to our Paper Chain of Kindness
Each of us has a unique role to play in our neighborhoods. We each offer something special. And this event was designed to lift up those qualities to celebrate and strengthen communities. Donna Saul Millen at TPT shared:

“We want them to have fun, enjoy TPT and experience the station that they support.”

She added, “They are part of what we do. They are learning about their neighborhoods and they are learning about being a good neighbor.”

What makes a neighborhood special? We asked event attendees to write or draw their answers on a paper link that they added to our Paper Chain of Kindness.

Collage of kids' crayon artwork
Selection of kids’ artwork from the Paper Chain of Kindness.

Little ones expressed a variety of heartwarming answers in response to that question, including:

• Love
• Kindness
• Caring about feelings
• Happiness
• Hope
• Friendship
• Abrazos (Hugs)
• Snacks
• Peace
• Wisdom
• Laughter
• Equality
• Listening
• Pets
• Family
• tpt
• Peace
• Helping

2 building services staff
The Building Services staff at TPT put in more than 40 hours to make sure that the event ran smoothly, and that neighbors of all ages felt supported and welcomed. A young girl who attended shared:

“Everyone put hard work into this and made it fun for kids.”

Their work paid off, because more than 94 percent of attendees said, “We felt welcome today.”

More than 350 days until we get to do it again!

“These kids are our future – and anything we can do to make the future better for them, I am all for it.” – Donna Saul Millen

Ninety-three percent of attendees said, “We want to come to another TPT event.” Until next year’s Be My Neighbor Day, sign up for TPT’s PlayDate e-news updates for information about upcoming events and ways to get involved!

Family of four at a table making a craft
A family participating in one of the craft learning experiences in TPT’s Street Space Neighborhood.

Donna added, “I enjoy being part of TPT and events like these. We are part of what’s next for these kids. Some day they will grow out of Daniel Tiger, but they will find other programs to connect with and learn from.”

Infinite number of thank you’s
Thank you and you and you and especially YOU for your support, for being our good neighbor and for showing up as a community. A grandfather who attended with his grandchildren shared:

“We had a great time, so thanks for everything!”

We’d love to hear from you and learn about your experience at this year’s Be My Neighbor Day events! So leave us a comment or send a note to [email protected]