Sarah E. Williams | 9/22/2005 1:52:06 AM
"People of character strengthen our country through their daily actions." So reads a portion of last year’s Presidential declaration of Character Counts! Week. This year, the week will be observed October 16-22.
For several years, both the White House and U.S. Senate have declared the third full week of October National Character Counts! Week, according to LSU AgCenter character education state expert Sarah Williams.
In 1993, with the cooperation of 27 organizations from across our nation, the Josephson Institute of Ethics instituted the concept of the Character Counts! Coalition. The number of coalition organizations has climbed to 500, and now more than 5 million young people participate in some kind of Character Counts! activity every day, Williams says.
Thousands of schools, organizations, businesses and communities will celebrate their achievements and show their commitment to the endeavor. Schools, school districts, youth organizations, businesses and community groups, other groups, youth sports leagues — even entire communities — across the United States will celebrate good character and the importance of developing it in youth.
"Character Counts! Week provides a time to reinforce the importance of teaching basic ethical values to youth — and an opportunity to celebrate successes in this everyday endeavor," Williams says.
Governors, mayors and other public figures across the country officially endorse the week each year. U.S. presidents from both parties and the U.S. Senate also issue proclamations. Members of the CC! Coalition also participate in and support CC! Week celebrations.
"It is a time for everyone to celebrate the rewards of character," Williams says, adding, "Parishes across Louisiana are encouraged to celebrate CCTS! Week."
For groups who would like to celebrate what has happened in their communities, the LSU AgCenter has a list of suggestions. Williams also invites participants to send in photos and reports of events for possible inclusion on Louisiana 4-H Web site. The character expert makes several recommendations to celebrate CC! Week.
1. Provide the local newspaper with articles written by students, parents, donors, law enforcement, local government.
2. Create a media event by getting a commitment from athletes, cheerleaders, students or youth organization members for individual service-learning projects during National Character Counts! Week. Ask a newspaper photographer to catch the teens at work and publish the pictures.
3. Have an ice cream social with city and county/parish officials. Showcase children’s Six Pillar art.
4. Host your own CCTS! game show.
5. Invite outstanding local heroes for an autograph-signing party.
6. Distribute a thought-for-the-day each day of National Character Counts! Week. Send them to all faith groups in your community for enclosure in their bulletins.
7. Make Character Counts! badges or buttons to wear and distribute.
8. Place Character Counts! placemats in local restaurants.
9. Ask the local cable station to convey Character Counts! messages and announcements.
10. Fly a Character Counts! flag or banner on the town square or at city hall.
11. Use "Kids for character" and "Choices Count" videos in businesses with televisions that continually play (doctor’s offices, beauty salons, car repair waiting rooms, etc.).
12. Put up Character Counts! promotional/educational exhibits at businesses, fairs, schools, banks and supermarkets.
13. Ask local businesses to put Character Counts! is Great! Get into It! on their signs during the week.
Events and activities
14. Have a contest to make the best T-shirt, posters, bumper stickers, displays, PSAs, essays and feature stories. Use them!
15. Have a Character Counts! family fun night.
16. Have a Character Counts! Carnival.
Civic and Youth Organization Meetings:
17. Have a reception for principals and teachers.
18. Distribute something TRRFCC (trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring and citizenship) for every bulletin board.
Character education materials and services are available to school personnel, parents and concerned citizens from the LSU AgCenter at www.lsuagcenter.com. Click on the 4-H clover and look for the Character Education section.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
On the Internet: Louisiana 4-H Web site: http://www.louisiana4h.org
On the Internet: CC! Week ideas: www.charactercounts.org/ccweek-ideas.htm
Source: Sarah Williams (225) 578-2196, or SAWilliams@agcenter.lsu.edu