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John Sinclair, Robert Stuart and Rich Bradley

Featured Article

Mr. Rogers’ Week of Kindness Returns to Orlando

A heartfelt tribute by the community to the legacy of Fred McFeely Rogers

In a city often bustling with noise and haste, the gentle teachings of Mister Rogers continue to resonate profoundly. Orlando is embracing the second annual Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness, a heartfelt tribute by the community to the legacy of Fred McFeely Rogers, the beloved children's television host and American icon. From April 1 to 6, the Orlando area is welcoming a variety of public events including rewarding educational experiences, orchestrated by the local family-owned Buena Vista Events & Management (BVEM). Attendees can engage with purpose as several members of the cast and crew of "Mister Rogers Neighborhood," Fred’s television show, are attending with spirit and honor. 

With Fred being a Rollin’s College alum, the city of Winter Park gears up with excitement to celebrate him in the town that sparked creativity and furthered his career toward inspiring and educating others. To do so, the event brings you on a heartwarming tour of the college campus.  

Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness includes a diverse array of activities that educate and honor the more personal elements of Fred Rogers' life- the events leading up to his success. 

 On April 4th, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, attend the Woman’s Club of Winter Park for ‘Remembering the Rogers Afternoon Tea’ including a space for conversation of Fred including fond memories and honoring stories. Here you can meaningfully engage with Fred and Joanne Rogers’ loved ones and colleagues. Later that evening at 7:00pm, join the producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Margy Whitmer, Mr. McFeely cast member David Newell, and Hedda Sharapan, Senior Fellow (The Fred Rogers Institute) and Child Development Consultant (Fred Rogers Productions) to view behind the scenes footage from the show and hear first-hand the warm energy Mister Rogers brought to his work.  

The Prayer Breakfast of Thanksgiving and Celebration will be held on Friday, April 5th, from 8:00am to 9:30am, and dine with cast members and colleagues of Mister Rogers as they take a deep dive into how he walked with faith and lived a meaningful spiritual life.  

Join us for an enriching Winter Park Neighbor Lunch and Learn event featuring David Newell, famously known as Mr. McFeely from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Taking place on Friday, April 5, 2024, from 12:00pm to 1:30pm (venue to be announced), the session offers a captivating exploration into Fred Rogers' life and his profound connection to Winter Park. Learn about the magical role Winter Park played in shaping the beloved television show, with insights from the cast and crew. Discover the enduring legacy of Fred Rogers and his family, who were integral members of the Winter Park community. Indulge in a musical masterpiece with the concert ‘Mister Rogers: The Musician Concert,’ which will be held on April 5th, at 7:30 pm, at the John M. Tiedtke Concert Hall at Rollins College. 

More events include the Mister Rogers Speaker Series on Saturday, April 6th, at 9:00 am and the Red Sweater Soiree on April 5th, at 7:00 pm with location and more information to be announced for each.  

With each activity, there is the opportunity to donate through Operation Shared Shoes, where you can donate lightly used shoes, and Sweater Drive by the Mustard Seed of Florida where you can donate new or lightly used sweaters for donation. What better way to honor Mister Rogers than embark on acts of kindness and generosity with neighbors.  

Central Florida held a special place in Fred Rogers' heart. It was here that he found love, penned scripts, and composed melodies for his timeless program. His connection to Orlando remains deeply ingrained, making it truly Mister Rogers’ real neighborhood.  

Reflecting on Rogers' philosophy, David Newell, fondly remembered as the actor who portrayed Mr. McFeely, shared, "He was probably the kindest person I ever knew. He practiced kindness every day." 

Winter Park invites guests with open arms without cost or fundraising but instead by the tribute through simple commence. Supported by the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, the Fred Rogers Institute, and Fred Rogers Productions, Mister Rogers’ Week of Kindness is not only an opportunity to celebrate Fred Roger’s spread of kindness to a generation but a testament to the enduring impact of compassion on many more to come.  

"Fred McFeely Rogers devoted his entire life to reminding us of some of the most important ideas of what it means to be human among humans: love, respect, and kindness," remarked BVEM President & CEO Rich Bradley. "This is a week to re-engage with his massive body of work with some folks, and to introduce his teachings to others." 

  • John Sinclair, Robert Stuart and Rich Bradley
  • Mr. Rogers in a Child Development Class

He was probably the kindest person I ever knew. He practiced kindness every day."