30 Ways Mayors and Local Governments Can Promote Good Character
- Join an organization that promotes character, e.g., Character Counts Coalition or Character Education Partnership.
- Issue a Mayor’s/City Council Proclamation endorsing the target character traits and encouraging all employees and citizens to model and promote these traits.
- Take part in CHARACTER COUNTS WEEK (3rd week of October); encourage schools, families, and community groups to do activities that promote character.
- Create a leadership group from all parts of the community; provide character education training with a commitment from a nucleus to serve as trainers.
- Sponsor a Community Summit on Character Education; invite government leaders, business people, youth group leaders, clergy, parents, educators, and youth. Focus: What character traits does the community want its youth and adults to possess? How can the schools, families, and community foster these traits?
- Assess community needs and character resources.
- Establish different committees (e.g., on schools, families, youth organizations, sports, the media) to deal with different aspects of the character challenge.
- Ask major employers and service clubs to help fund the effort; ask printers to donate printing of storefront posters, flyers, school cafeteria placemats, etc.
- Ask the Chamber of Commerce to promote the traits.
- Ask youth organizations such as Scouts, 4-H, camps, sports leagues, and after-school care programs to incorporate the target traits into their activities.
- Train adult mentors to promote the character traits.
- Ask all schools, K-12, to infuse the character traits into their daily curricular and extracurricular activities.
- Help community groups exchange character ideas; collect successful strategies in a Book of Character.
- Arrange for local media coverage of how schools and community groups are promoting character.
- Ask the local newspaper to run a series of articles, each focused on a particular trait and spotlighting exemplary students or other community members.
- Have the Police Department sponsor a “Do the Right Thing” program honoring young people for acts of good character.
- Have City Council present certificates to youth and other groups that perform public service; give a special monthly award to a Person of Character.
- Challenge all public employees, including candidates for office, to model the target traits.
- Display the target traits, a character logo, and pertinent quotes wherever possible: in the Mayor’s office, City Hall lobby and Council Room; on city buses, trucks, pavilions, parade floats, fair exhibits, and school marquees.
- Have all computers in city/county offices display the monthly trait and a quote when employees log on.
- Ask businesses to display the monthly trait in their storefronts and in the workplace environment.
- Use the traits as employee performance expectations; ask employers to incorporate the traits into interviews.
- As mayor, visit schools to support character efforts.
- Invite a state or U.S. senator or representative to speak at a community event on the importance of good character; get a prominent sports figure to endorse your effort. Invite school and community groups to City Hall to describe their character education efforts; use the community access channel to televise these reports.
- Create a Teen Council to advise the Mayor and City Council on youth matters. Work with youth to create a teen center.
- Work with schools and community agencies to expand students’ opportunities for service-learning.
- To discourage gang membership, seek to involve all middle school students in an after-school club or sport. Teach existing gangs how to resolve conflicts.
- Ask faith communities to incorporate the traits into sermons and religious instruction.
- Sponsor a Random Acts of Kindness Week or Month.
- Create a community Family Resource Center that provides parent education and family counseling; encourage parents to read their children books that build character; provide list of recommended books.
By Dr. Thomas Lickona, Director, Center for the 4th and 5th Rs
Excerpted from the Character Education Informational Handbook & Guide, Public Schools of North Carolina, Department of Education, 2002. Used by permission.