September Pillar of Responsibility

By: Ashley Winterstein

With school now in session and fall schedules settling into place, it is the perfect time for members of the community to consider three significant opportunities to have a positive effect on youth in Queen Anne’s County.

The Assets Action Team holds an intergenerational meeting each month to help youth plan for their future and make responsible decisions in their lives. The team consists of middle school students, high school students, and adults from the community and strives to ensure that young people have caring adults in their lives to provide support and encouragement.

The Assets Action Team meets the first Monday of every month at the New Life United Methodist Church in Centreville from 6:00-7:00pm and always welcomes new members!

The Character Counts! Program has impacted thousands of children in Queen Anne’s County since its launch in November of 2000. During the 2009-2010 school year alone, 111 character coaches visited local classrooms sharing lessons about the Six Pillars of Character – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

The Character Counts! Advisory Council is once again looking for volunteers willing to donate 15 minutes each week to visit a nearby classroom and discuss the importance of having good character with the students. An introductory training, as well as lesson ideas and suggestions, are provided to help coaches become a trusted and influential role model in these young lives.

The CommUNITY Mentoring Partnership in Queen Anne’s County is designed to connect caring mentors with at-risk youth in grades 6-10. Each mentor makes a weekly commitment to spend at least an hour of interaction with their mentee and meets them both in and out of school.

Training and ongoing support are available both at the Board of Education and through the mentor coordinator. The CommUNITY Mentoring Partnership is always looking for caring and supportive adults to join the team, especially male mentors willing to donate their time.

It is hoped that these valuable mentoring moments will increase the academic performance and self-esteem of these young students as well as more positive decisions in their behavior choices. With this increase in confidence, it is expected that their lifetime goals and ambitions will increase as well.

Dr. Lilian G. Katz, a former professor of Early Childhood Education, author, and current lecturer on child development, has been quoted with these thoughts, “Each of us must come to care about everyone else’s children. We must recognize that the welfare for our children is intimately linked to the welfare of all other people’s children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else’s child will perform it. If one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else’s child will be responsible for the violent act. The good life for our own children can be secured only if a good life is also secured for all other people’s children.”

The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners have proclaimed the Character Counts! Pillar of the Month to be Responsibility and there could not be a better time for community members to think about the responsibility we each have to leave a positive impact on those around us.

Asset Team Members, Character Coaches, and CommUNITY Mentors all have the special opportunity to help students tackle tough issues like bullying, self respect, communicating, diversity, and designing their own futures. The positive impact does not stop with the child but continues through the rest of the community as well.

For more information about the Assets Action Team, the Character Counts! Program, or CommUNITY Mentoring in Queen Anne’s County, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or jcarter@qac.org.  All three programs are a part of QAC Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board.

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