In a world where sometimes kindness isn’t as easily given, a college student has made it his mission to Live Like Fred and spread love and kindness to others, just like Mr. Rogers.
Colton DeBiase, a freshmen at Point Park University set out on a kindness journey when he created Live Like Fred with his mom. The driving force behind the campaign is to make sure the legacy of Mister Rogers lives on. As a society today, the philosophy of kindness and love that Mr. Rogers spread on his show and everyday life is needed now more than ever. The next generation of neighbors hasn’t had the chance to grow up with his timeless wisdom. Live Like Fred strives to promote that through their social media pages, interviewing ‘neighbors’ and visiting local kindergarten classes.
“No matter who Mister Rogers came into contact with, he made sure to give them his full attention and he always made everyone who talked to him feel special at that very moment,” said DeBiase. “It means simply if you are kind to just one person you are already making the world a better place.”
They have added a few things since they started the campaign. LLF will ask prominent Pittsburghers their signature question, ‘What Makes a Snappy New Day’ along with other questions on kindness. From Mr. McFeely to local news anchors and Beverly’s Birthdays, Live Like Fred has sat down with them to discuss how they spread kindness and love.
“We go around the Pittsburgh Area and interview people who we call inspiring neighbors,” said DeBiase. “These are ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things by living out the philosophies of kindness and love just as Mister Rogers did every day.”
Not only do they ask what kindness is but they also visit local Kindergarten classes with their “Kindness Bear” (pictured right with Colton Debiase and David Newell, aka Mr. McFeely) a learning tool on how to be kind to one another. Each time DeBiase visits a classroom, he brings the bear, which easily fits in small hands, has ears just right for listening and a big heart to share kindness everywhere and with everyone. The Kindness Bear helps DeBiase share and teach a kindness lesson each visit for students to learn and use in their lives.
“Ever since I was a little boy, I was also fell in love with watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” said DeBiase. “When I was in high school, I would always turn to him and the wisdom of the neighborhood every time I was feeling down on something.”
Mister Rogers Neighborhood ran from 1961-2001 and was aimed at preschoolers to talk about various issues, taking the viewer on tours of factories, demonstrating experiments, crafts, and music, and interacting with his friends. Not only that but the series also dealt with competition, divorce, war and how to use peaceful ways of dealing with angry feelings. All the while having teachable moments about kindness, love, acceptance and caring for others.
Live Like Friend strives to make a difference in the community and show how important it is to care for others. It is a great way for people to be “helpers” in our community just as Mister Rogers always used to say.
“I am a freshman at Point Park studying Broadcast Reporting so I wanted to start a campaign that would make a difference in our neighborhoods,” said DeBiase. “I immediately thought of using my love of Mister Rogers as a positive tool in the community.”