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Character Counts makes a difference in FD

People of all ages can benefit from program’s inspirational message

October 11, 2009
Messenger News

Get involved! October 18 24 is Character Counts Week and Fort Dodge has a lot to celebrate. Character Counts in Fort Dodge began 10 years ago as a vision of Trinity Regional Medical Center's Community Action Network to help create more positive, productive and successful citizens in our community.

Trinity Regional Medical Center will receive recognition for a decade's worth of character building this October when it receives the prestigious Iowa Character Award in Des Moines from the Institute for Character Development.

You may not be familiar with Character Counts - if not, think of the words: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. These are the Six Pillars of Character and can be easily remembered by the acronym T.R.R.F.C.C. - or by thinking of the word TeRRiFiCC with a little twist.

These Six Pillars of Character come from the Josephson Institute for Ethics nationally recognized Character Counts program. Michael Josephson, the founder of Character Counts wrote on the national Web site "It's been said that people almost always forget what you said, and they usually forget what you did, but they never forget how you made them feel."

Even though many schools in Fort Dodge teach the Six Pillars, this message is not just for kids. In fact, the city's 175-plus employees including the Police and Fire departments, as well as the mayor and City Council members have been trained on Character Counts in the workplace. In addition to that, more than 1,000 Trinity Regional Medical Center employees have been through Character Counts training for Ethics and Civility in the workplace.

Many local businesses utilize the program, engaging employees and displaying everything from posters to window decals. Today, businesses throughout Fort Dodge use portions of the Six Pillars of Character for employee hiring criteria and performance reviews. You can even read about good character in the city newsletter's Character Corner each month.

Every spring, Character Counts in Fort Dodge sponsors a Youth Character Award Contest for fifth-graders through12th-graders. Miss Iowa 2008, Olivia Myers, spoke to the banquet attendees and challenged each one "to always know who you are and be true to that person no matter what happens in life."

This year, Character Counts in Fort Dodge, has come up with an innovative idea to bring the Six Pillars of Character to life. Character Counts in Fort Dodge is encouraging our community to show their Character Counts with a program called Pay It Forward Fort Dodge.

What can you do to show your support of Character Counts in Fort Dodge and Pay it Forward? How about picking up a free window cling from the Chamber of Commerce and displaying it in your home, business or service organization? Or, look for and discuss the Six Pillars of Character message displayed on electronic billboards all around town during Character Counts Week. Most importantly though, take action with our new program: Pay it Forward Fort Dodge - Character Counts!

This is a new way to celebrate Character Counts Week by helping local businesses and individuals Pay it Forward. Six businesses or individuals - symbolizing the Six Pillars of Character - have been selected to receive seed money to help make a difference in Fort Dodge. This money is being used to raise funds or donations for such worthy causes as Care Packages for our troops, "Stamp of Support" to raise money for postage to send packages to those serving our country, the YWCA and more.

Check out the ways you can support Pay it Forward Fort Dodge - Character Counts! at these local businesses and organizations. Be sure to take action and help. This year's Pay it Forward recipients who are making a difference are Citizens' Community Credit Union, Iowa Central Community College student Megan Averill, First American Bank, Hy-Vee Food Store and Northwest Bank.

Character Counts in Fort Dodge will let you know how these Pay it Forward Fort Dodge businesses made a difference after Character Counts Week. Thank you in advance for your support.

Pam Bunte is Character Counts coordinator in Fort Dodge.



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