Carbondale, IL – Recognizing that kids and teens facing loss and grief needed a safe place to share and process their emotions, 10-year-old Abigail Fields sparked the idea for a “Safe Place” program while participating in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Illinois/PRIDE After School Program. In honor of her service and thoughtfulness, Abigail received the “Good Neighbor” Award from WSIU’s One Region, All Neighbors initiative.
WSIU Public Broadcasting, a service of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, created the One Region All Neighbors initative in honor of Fred Rogers to recognize those who make a positive impact in the community. Each month during 2019, winners will be chosen from nominations submitted by the public in five categories: individual, youth, educator, community group and business.
Abigail, the 2019 Junior Youth of the Year at the local Boys and Girls Clubs, was nominated by leader Brittany Swims for exemplifying the spirit of a good neighbor. Swims noted that Abigail is both “caring and active in the community” and focused on the greater good.
“Abigail is the perfect example of what we see as a good neighbor at such a young age,” Swims said. “One example of Abigail being neighborly is that she tries to get her peers more involved in the positive endeavors that she is currently involved in.” Swims also noted that Abigail lends a helping hand to staff whenever they need it and makes an effort to include others.
When Centerstone, a Southern Illinois human services agency, heard about Abigail’s “Safe Places” idea, they determined that it was worthy of implementation. With support from Centerstone and the Boys and Girls Clubs, the program will launch later this year to support those facing a loss. A straight-A student, Abigail is also involved in Girl Scouts, orchestra and karate and looks forward to adding choir in fifth grade this fall.
“Being a good neighbor means putting others before yourself and making sure that they’re okay,” Abigail said. “I also think being a good neighbor doesn’t mean just the people who live next to you, but the rest of your block and the community you live in.”
“Anyone who gets to know her knows that she has the biggest heart because everyone she meets is her new best friend,” added Jeleania Fields, Abigail’s mom. “Even without me saying, ‘Hey, let’s do this,’ she’ll see a problem and she’ll come up with her own solution.”
ABOUT ONE REGION ALL NEIGHBORS
WSIU’s One Region, All Neighbors campaign is inspired by the life and legacy of Fred Rogers. For more than 30 years, Rogers reached into homes and hearts with his children’s public television program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” demonstrating the power of kindness and transforming our understanding of childhood. WSIU’s One Region, All Neighbors initiative encourages community members to nominate those making positive contributions through acts of kindness, compassion and service. Each month during 2019, winners are chosen from nominations submitted by the public in five categories: individual, youth, educator, community group and business. All awardees and nominators will be invited to attend a special ceremony where they will be recognized for outstanding contributions in their communities.
NOMINATE YOUR NEIGHBORS
WSIU encourages the public to participate in the One Region, All Neighbors campaign by nominating neighbors online and sharing on social media using #WeAreAllNeighbors.
ABOUT WSIU PUBLIC BROADCASTING
WSIU Public Broadcasting is licensed to the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University and is an integral part of the College of Mass Communication & Media Arts on the Carbondale campus. WSIU stations reach more than five million people across six states and beyond through five digital public television channels, three public radio stations, a radio information service, a website, and education and outreach services.
WSIU's mission is to improve the quality of life of the people they serve. WSIU stations partner with other community organizations to promote positive change and to support the academic and public service missions of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Learn more and get the latest station news online at wsiu.org and on WSIU's Facebook and Twitter pages. WSIU's programs and services are partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.