It was fifty years ago when Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood asked if you’d be his neighbor. It was a simple statement but one that helped children from around the world feel … well … welcomed. Fred Rogers’ influence during the thirty-three-year run of his show was noteworthy, but his impact on the way children were treated as a result of his soft-spoken, yet powerful messages of acceptance is what is truly remarkable.
In 1969, Fred Rogers courageously went in front of Congress to ask for funding for his show and other shows that PBS produced. At the end of his brief appearance, he convinced even the toughest of senators to give PBS $20 million to produce more shows just like his. For Fred Rogers though, it wasn’t about entertainment; it was about helping children. You’re right, Mr. Rogers, “There’s no person in the world like you, and I like you just the way you are.” Thanks for welcoming us into your neighborhood.