Fred Rogers Statue, Photo by Jonathan Plum
Fred Rogers Statue, Photo by Jonathan Plum

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” -Fred Rogers

The Fred Rogers statue pictured above sits on the North Side of our city, overlooking the Golden Triangle of Downtown Pittsburgh. The statue is a reminder to us that our city was privileged-however briefly-to rub elbows with one of the most inspired individuals of the last century, Fred Rogers.

Known to most of our generation simply as Mister Rogers, he was a man who first influenced us in our pj’s on our living room couches as mere babies. We found comfort in the characteristic exchange of his work jacket for his home sweater, of his shiny work shoes for his blue sneakers. We waited with bated breath for him to feed his fish and to get his special deliveries. And we learned about his neighborhood–and indirectly our own–through the field trips we took with him in our imaginations.

I was recently asked to take another field trip through my neighborhood by Mister Rogers–or, at least, by an important piece of his legacy–the Fred Rogers Company. I am lucky enough to live in Pittsburgh–the same place that Mister Rogers frequented–and the people of my city are as beautiful today as they were in my imagination all those years ago…

IMG_2631

This photo, which has become the image associated with my blog, was taken at Randyland–the home of Randy Gilson on the North Side. Randy has transformed previously vacant and poorly maintained lots into havens of art and greenery. I’m so glad Randy Gilson and Randyland are a part of my neighborhood.

arthouse

 This photo shows Homewood’s Art House–a project of Vanessa German. Vanessa has created a safe space for children to be creative and form positive relationships within a dangerous part of our city. I’m so glad Vanessa German and Art House are a part of my neighborhood.

DSCN0632

The photo above shows Free Store 15104–a completely FREE store located in Braddock, PA. Started by Gisele Fetterman, the Free Store redistributes donated and surplus items to those in need. The only requirement? Pay it forward when you can. I’m glad Gisele Fetterman and Free Store 15104 are a part of my neighborhood.

jpdd3

The photo above was taken after a snack drive I hosted for Jeremiah’s Place, the city’s first emergency nursery. Started by a group of local mothers, Jeremiah’s place offers free childcare for up to 72 hours for families in crisis. I’m so glad Jeremiah’s Place and its founders are in my neighborhood.

freelibrary

The photo above is our Little Free Library, built a couple of years ago by my husband to commemorate the 5th anniversary of my Dad’s passing. Our Little Free Library brought our neighborhood together through a shared love of books.

The truth is that I could go on forever with photos and stories of my inspired neighbors in Pittsburgh. I believe my city is full of them. In fact, I believe every city is full of them. And I know Mister Rogers would agree.

“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
Fred Rogers

Won’t you #BeMyNeighbor?

Visit wontyoubemyneighbor.org to find out how ordinary citizens everywhere are taking Mister Rogers’ message to heart and changing the lives of their neighbors every day. You won’t be disappointed. And please remember to share your own stories with #BeMyNeighbor.

Let’s look for the helpers, Pittsburgh….

This blog post has been generously sponsored by the Fred Rogers Company and the Motherhood. However, my support of Mister Rogers and his beautiful message is 100% my own.

© Copyright 2014 Nadine Champsi, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog
Nadine Champsi

Nadine Champsi

I am a doctor turned write-at-home-mom who runs the Pittsburgh Mommy Blog and is editor of Kidsburgh. I have two wonderful young children and am happily married. My interests include cooking, green-living, gardening, being in the outdoors, listening to great music, checking out the city's cool art, coming up with creative things to do with my kids, and having as many adventures as I can!
Nadine Champsi

Comments are closed.