Know Before You Go: Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness

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Before creating a neighborhood of respect, charity and kindness, Fred McFeely Rogers was a Rollins College student and a Winter Park neighbor.

Born in Latrobe, PA, he arrived in Winter Park in 1948 to tour Rollins before transferring from Dartmouth College. He would later meet Joanne Byrd, another Rollins student who would become his wife. Rogers and his family would grow to love the city and he would return annually to write scripts and music for the production of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, creating approximately half of the program’s content locally.

The second annual Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is a series of educational and public events, scheduled between April 1-6 and held in Winter Park and the Orlando area, that are inspired by the nationally known children’s television host. Events include:

Mister Rogers Walking Tours, April 1-6 at Rollins College: Explore the neighborhood that shaped Mister Rogers on this self-guided walking tour of Rollins College and find out how his legacy is kept alive on campus. Experience exclusive Mister Rogers memorabilia and artwork and discover how Rollins is educating the next generation of global citizens and responsible leaders. Route map and location information for self-guided tours are available here.

A special guided tour will take place on April 6 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. with information on Rogers’ life and his years in Winter Park. The guided tour is a free event but registration is necessary and available here.

Inside the Neighborhood: Episode Clip Screening with Cast and Crew Q&A, April 3, 7-8:30 p.m. at Winter Park Library: A behind the scenes look at some landmark episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with show producer Margy Whitmer, cast member David Newell (Mr. McFeely), and Fred Rogers Institute Senior Fellow Hedda Sharapan. Registration is free and available here.

Remembering the Rogers Afternoon Tea, April 4, 2-4 p.m. at Women’s Club of Winter Park. 419 S. Interlachen Ave.: Friends and collogues of Fred and Joanne Rogers share stories and memories of their former neighbors. This is a free event but seating is limited, register here.

Prayer Breakfast of Thanksgiving and Celebration, April 5 from 7:30-9 a.m. at First Orlando, 3000 S. John Young Pkwy.: Cast member and close friend of Fred Rogers, David Newell (Mr. McFeely), will hold a discussion with “The Gospel According to Fred” author Rev. Seth Cain, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood producer Margy Whitmer, and Senior Fellow of The Fred Rogers Institute Hedda Sharapan. The group will share their observations on the ways that Rogers lived out his faith in an extraordinary life of kindness and compassion. Breakfast will be provided by Panera. This is a free event but capacity is limited. Registration is available here.

Our Orlando Neighbor, Mister Rogers, Lunch and Learn, April 5, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Lonely Dog Immersive Experience, 45950 International Dr.: Join cast and crew of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for a look at Fred Rogers’ life, how Winter Park played a critical role in the success and creation of his television show, and the legacy left behind by Rogers and the rest of his family, who were also part of the Central Florida community. The event is hosted by Lonely Dog Immersive Experience and lunch is provided by Chick-fil-A. This is a free event but registration is necessary and available here.

Mister Rogers: The Musical Concert Event, April 5, 7:30 p.m. at John M. Tiedtke Concert Hall, Rollins College: Fred Rogers wrote several songs while a student at Rollins including an opera – Josephine the Long-Necked Giraffe – which he wrote in French. Selections from his musical portfolio will be performed by faculty and students of Rollins College Department of Music. Tickets are between $10 and $25 and available here.

Attendees of each event are invited to bring select items to support the following causes:

  • Operation Shared Shoes: Established in 2017 with the goal of providing a new or lightly used pair of shoes to every person in need of them, Operation Shared Shoes strives to make a difference in the community and help those who are less fortunate.
  • Sweater Drive by One Heart for Women and Children: Aiding individuals who are homeless or in times of transition by helping them meet their most essential needs. One Heart for Women and Children helps provide access to food, clothing, school supplies, personal hygiene items, household items, and more.

For more information on the schedule, activities and partnerships, log onto

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