As we welcomed sweet November last week, we were reminded of how blessed we are to see another month, holiday season and our 5th year of public service as Maximizing Character in the coming year. We decided to celebrate gratitude throughout the month. Gratitude, from the Latin gratus, meaning pleasing or thankful, is a feeling of appreciation. It is often shown through kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity.
During the first six days of our Gratitude celebration we were grateful for life, family, opportunities to achieve our goals, our supporters, good teachers and the ability to help others. Imagine life without these things.
As we move forward through the month of November we hope that you will check back and join us as we reflect upon the many wonderful blessings we have to be grateful for. Obviously gratitude is not just a once a month or time of year observation. It is a daily habit that, if exercised, has the potential to bring so much joy into one’s life. So, until we blog again, here’s to Maximizing Character and Gratitude!
Families were also afforded the chance to tour the entire museum at no cost that evening. According to Ms. Epps, Title I Coordinator – Family Engagement, many of the families had never visited the museum or other community attractions possibly due to a lack of funds or knowledge of such places. Hosting the educational event at this popular area attraction was deemed a success according to the post-surveys that were completed by the participants.
Maximizing Character leaders and Character (Youth) Ambassadors attended the event, providing information about character education, life skills and community service opportunities with the program. The leaders and Youth Ambassadors greeted the children and their families, shared information, answered questions about Maximizing Character services and engaged the youth in an activity called “Know Your Character, Show Your Character”. Youth participants also had a chance to engage in coloring their own “All About Character” poster or take it with them. The children and families were encouraged to “Do the Right Thing, All Day… Every Day!”
The event proved to be a success and Maximizing Character was proud to be a part of the school system’s efforts to promote parent and community engagement! In a statement made during the event summary, Coordinator Ms. Epps said,
“Thank you all for another successful Title I Family Learning Project Event (this was our 8th year!) as we took over the Air & Space Center! The families were engaged with wonderful activities and resources and were VERY excited about exploring the exhibits. We had 739 participants! We also had 26 community vendors! Thank you again for all that you did to make this event a success.”
This past school year Maximizing Character had the opportunity to help establish a Girls Group with a group of energetic middle school girls. It was a pleasure to work with them as they were transitioning from childhood into adolescence. These young ladies were selected for the group based upon academic and behavioral challenges they had experienced. The objective of the girls group was to empower these future leaders, helping to keep them from “falling through the cracks” academically and socially. I had the opportunity to share my passion for character building while also teaching the girls to love themselves, enjoy their youth and invest in their education and future success.
Each Monday afternoon I would travel to the school, greet the girls who were usually finishing up their tutoring with college students from the local university, and begin our group session together. During G.I.R.L.S. Group, we engaged in activities and discussions about character development, boys, effective communication, self-esteem and other topics critical to this age group. I was truly “in my element” during those sessions. The girls asked questions about relationships with peers, boys, how to communicate with fussy parents and how to envision a successful and fulfilling life. Maximizing Character G.I.R.L.S. Group projects and activities included developing a “vision board”, role playing scenarios about bullying, communicating with peers and adults, drama-free living and open discussions about self-worth and how to interact appropriately with boys.
The program started off slowly, canceling a few of the first meetings due to low attendance and attempting to build new relationships with the diverse group of girls. However, after the Christmas break, the program seemed to take off, allowing me to interact more often with the girls and build camaraderie with school staff and the girls. By the end of the ten weeks, the girls appeared to be more comfortable with initiating discussions and activities with me, had improved their grades and behaviors and were eager to exchange social media information in order to keep in touch with me and the Maximizing Character Ambassadors.
On April 30, 2014, Maximizing Character graduated its first G.I.R.L.S. Group! The group had a small ceremony in one of the classrooms at the school where Mrs. Manning, the Student Advancement Coach, who implemented this program, the boys’ group, parents and volunteers joined together for a light dinner and awards ceremony. The Maximizing Character G.I.R.L.S. Group graduates were presented with a certificate of participation, a “Character Couture” bracelet and a bag of goodies. It was a great school year and I wished the girls well as most of them would advance to high school. As a result of the success of the M.C. G.I.R.L.S. Group, we were asked to facilitate the program again during the 2014-2015 school year! I am so excited about the opportunity to mentor a new group of girls!
This month our nation celebrates a host of nationally recognized causes including Breast Cancer Awareness, Bullying Prevention and … you guessed it…Good Character! October 20-26, 2013 is Character Counts! Week! Only a week…You ask? Yes, only a week, but you can join Maximizing Character EVERY DAY and especially during Character Counts! Week to make YOUR Character Count! You can do something, like volunteer in your community or mentor a young adult or co-worker, in order to continue to develop your character and demonstrate caring and citizenship at the same time. Be sure to include your children or the kids in your life, teaching them about and modeling good character. Maximizing Character will be highlighting the Six Pillars of Character (responsibility, trustworthiness, respect, fairness, caring and citizenship) each day and highlighting good character among our youth in our community during Character Counts! Week. We don’t want you to miss this annual, nationally recognized week, celebrated in over 50 countries around the globe, so FOLLOW US here on wordpress, on Facebook at Maximizing Character (don’t forget to LIKE our page), on Twitter @Character2Max, and on Instagram at characterboss.
I launched a character education program this summer called Maximizing Character. The program has gotten off to a great start promoting its services within the community with the help of family, friends and like-minded organizations. I am passionate about promoting values and positive behaviors that help us to maximize our spiritual, social & emotional, physical, academic and professional potential. If you’ve ever wondered why there is so much violence, irresponsibility, disrespect, lack of integrity and self-centeredness in the world, think about people’s character. Consider the values that you were (or were not) taught or developed over the years. Believe it or not, character building is an important aspect of our development and it’s not just a topic for kids. Author and character educator, Michele Borba said it like this, “It is important to remember that the most important measure of a nation is not its gross national product, its technological genius, or its military might. It is the character of its people.” Civil Rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed, “Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.” Character encompasses the inward “man or woman” including traits such as honesty, responsibility, caring, and trustworthiness which ultimately reveal themselves in one’s actions and behaviors. If a person is truly honest, for example, their honesty will manifest in their relationships, on their job or at school and in how they live their lives. And know for certain, that people will quickly discern your true character no matter how hard you try to mask it. So…what does your character look like? If someone were to describe you, what would they say? How do you model good character to others especially the children in your life? Just a little Food for thought.