Tag Archives: Character Counts



On Saturday, May 17th The Kent Island Heritage Society will once again open Kent Island Day’s with a parade starting at Kent Island Elementary. Participants will parade from the local elementary school to the main stage, which will be located on Main Street in Historic Stevensville, adjacent to Rustico Italian Restaurant.

Character Counts!, A participant in the parade, is inviting all Students of Character to participate in the parade and walk behind the Character Counts banner and alongside –The Six Pillars of Character; Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship!

Parade line up begins at Kent Island Elementary School at 9:30 am. Students should arrive between 9:30 – 10:00 am. The parade will begin promptly at 10:30 am.  Students should wear their orange anti-bullying t-shirts from last October’s countywide Unity Day or another brightly colored t-shirt. If students wish they may also bring a bag of candy to distribute to parade watchers along the route. Parents may walk alongside students or pick them up at the main stage where opening ceremonies and the day’s entertainment will take place.

Come show your Character! We look forward to seeing you all there! Feel free to contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or jcarter@qac.org if you have any questions.  QAC Character Counts! is a part of Community Partnerships for Children & Families, our Local Management Board.

Character Counts! Community “Pillar of Character” Award

Character Counts! is pleased to announce the Queen Anne’s County “Pillar of Character” Award is back for 2013. Character Counts! in Queen Anne’s County believes that the selection process should be a community-wide effort to choose a person, group or business to receive this award. The award honors an individual, a business/industry, government agency, non-profit organization, or students who have exemplified the spirit of the Character Counts! initiative through their actions and deeds. The Six Pillars of Character are: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. Nominations for this honor will be accepted through October 31st. To nominate a person or group, nominators need to write a brief description of not more than 300 words about the nominee’s activity or initiative that demonstrated the six pillars character. A nomination form is available online by visiting the Character Counts! website, www.peopleofcharacter.org or by calling Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or emailing her at jcarter@qac.org. The award winner(s) will be recognized at the annual Character Counts! anniversary celebration on November 26th. Character Counts! was recognized as a one of the best community organizations this year by the readership of the Shore Update. We would like to recognize community members who implement the six pillars on a daily basis who help to make us a strong presence in the county.

CHES Recognized at MCCE Awards Luncheon

By: Ashley Winterstein

Each year, the Maryland Center for Character Education (MCCE) holds an Awards Luncheon to recognize the schools in Maryland that have excelled in character education.

A school from each county is acknowledged for their efforts and Church Hill Elementary School was chosen from Queen Anne’s County to receive the 2012 School of the Year Award.

The mission of the faculty and staff at Church Hill Elementary School is to challenge all students to achieve their maximum potential academically in a nurturing, challenging, and safe learning environment and to be lifelong learners.

To help achieve this goal, Character Counts! has been placed as the cornerstone of their character education program. There are currently 12 volunteer character coaches who visit Church Hill Elementary School on a weekly basis to share lessons about good character with the students. The positive impact these coaches have on the students is often long-lasting and memorable.

Guidance Counselor, Linda Slaughter, explains, “Our character education program involves more than having these volunteers come in– it is integrated in all that we do in our school and we are very proud to have received recognition as a School of the Year by the MCCE.”

The Six Pillars of Character (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship) are incorporated into Character Counts! Coaching lessons, Guidance lessons, and Project Wisdom. The Pillars are also aligned with the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) initiatives that focus on the three goals to “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, and Be Safe”.

The results speak for themselves as discipline referrals at Church Hill Elementary School have gone from 20 annually to 3 in a population of over 300 students.

Parents and guardians are also encouraged to participate in school activities, including “Moving with Moms”, “Donuts with Dads”, and Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students). Church Hill Elementary School received over 2,500 hours of volunteer service in the 2011-2012 school year from parent involvement and Character Counts! coaches.

Principal Lloyd Taylor remarked, “We are certainly pleased that Church Hill Elementary School has been recognized as a school that stresses the importance of good character. Academic achievement is, of course, very important but equally essential is the character development of our students. Good citizens display good character.”

The Character Counts! Advisory Council would like to thank the volunteers who have left a positive mark on the youth in our county and congratulate Church Hill Elementary School for the recognition they received for their commitment to character education.

For more information about the Character Counts! program in Queen Anne’s County, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or jcarter@qac.org. Queen Anne’s County Character Counts! is a part of QAC Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board.

SMS Students Participate in Yellow Ribbon Project

By Ashley Winterstein

Students Outside with teacher, Darryl Calloway and CC! Coach Kaarin Salisbury (400 x 300)Every character coach that enters the classroom brings with them their own experiences and ideas that they want to share with the students. Kaarin Salisbury is no exception. When she entered the classroom for the first time as a character coach in October of 2011, she was determined to be a positive influence on the lives of the children in her classes.

During the character lessons, she was quick to share her own life experiences as a police officer, with a husband who has been on active duty in the military since they were married 24 years ago. Although her self-described “real” job now is to process evidence for the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office and develop training curriculum for law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, one of her passions is volunteering for the Yellow Ribbon Program.

Every weekend, somewhere in the United States, a Yellow Ribbon Event is held for people in the military in any stage of deployment AND their families. At these events, there are classes, speakers, and discussion groups about topics such as resumes, finances, relationships, stress, and fitness. Salisbury volunteers regularly by leading a breakout session for family members who need to know there is support and others out there experiencing the same difficulties as them.

It didn’t take long for Salisbury to realize there was a way to merge her two most important volunteering efforts. She explained the Yellow Ribbon Events to her students and they were more than eager to find a way to help. After much brainstorming, her three 6th grade classes decided to create a video greeting card to be shown to the military members and their families at Yellow Ribbon Events.

Under the supervision of Coach Salisbury and their teachers, Darryl Calloway and Sharon Murdoch, the students worked together to write, direct, and produce a video greeting card entitled, “Loved Ones Serve As Well.” The video contains skits about daily life when a family member is deployed, candid interviews with the students expressing their support, and heartfelt messages to the soldiers and their families.

Jeff Straight, Public Information Officer for the Queen Anne’s County Board of Education, recorded and edited hours of footage into an 18 minute video that was first debuted to the involved students and their teachers on December 21, 2012. The video was also shown to the entire student body at Sudlersville Middle School later that day via closed circuit televisions in the classrooms. It will be edited a bit more to fit into time constraints prior to being shown at Yellow Ribbon Events.

Please visit www.peopleofcharacter.org for a link to this amazing video and more pictures of the students working on their project!

If you have any questions about Character Counts! in Queen Anne’s County or are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or jcarter@qac.org. Character Counts! is a part of the Queen Anne’s County Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board.

QAC CC! Six Pillar Personal Inventory

The Six Pillar Personal Inventory was initiated in 2003 and has since been administered every odd year. The survey helps the Queen Anne’s County Character Counts! Advisory Council determine how they are doing in implementing and promoting the character message in our county. The information gathered is helpful in applications for funding this initiative.

The 2011 Inventory Results were analyzed and show a significant increase for 10-15 year olds in 32 of the 36 qualities. This group practices the pillars on a level with adults, with students participating in the Character Counts! program reaching higher scores than non-participants.

Students 16-21 years old showed a significant increase in 12 of the 36 qualities, with trustworthiness being the most variable practice. In contrast, the adult group said they practice trustworthiness the most and caring the least. Scores increased for all Hispanic adults for all Six Pillars, but decreased over the inventories among African-American adults.

It is once again time to offer the survey to those who live and/or work in Queen Anne’s County and are over 10 years of age. The survey was opened on February and will close on February 28th midnight. It can be accessed online at www.peopleofcharacter.org and www.qacps.org. Community members preferring a paper copy may call Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or email jcarter@qac.org.

Please take a few minutes of your time to answer this survey and help determine how character education efforts can be enhanced in Queen Anne’s County.


Character Counts! Celebrates 12th Anniversary in Queen Anne’s County

By: Ashley Winterstein

Karey Anne Coppage's Students with Caring Proclamation (400 x 300)It has been twelve years since the proclamation was read by the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners that formed an Advisory Council to embrace and encourage character development in all citizens. Since that day, the Character Counts! program has grown to be a recognizable force in Queen Anne’s County.

This school year so far, 85 volunteer character coaches spend fifteen minutes every week sharing lessons of good character with students in Queen Anne’s County. In addition, 49 local businesses have registered as Businesses of Character, agreeing to adhere to the Six Pillars of Character (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship) and expecting their employees to do the same.

Character Counts! has also grown to include the CommUNITY Mentoring Program, which matches youth in local schools with reliable, trustworthy members of the community. The pairs meet at least once each week for one hour, with the hopes of achieving increased academic performance, increased self-esteem, and expanded goals for lifetime achievement. There are currently 11 qualified mentors working or scheduled to work with individual students.

To celebrate the achievements and growth of Character Counts! over the past twelve years, members of the Character Counts! Advisory Council attended the reading of the 12th Anniversary Proclamation at the November 20, 2012 meeting of the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners. Jacki Carter, Positive Youth Development Coordinator, expressed her gratitude to the Commissioners for the continued support the county has shown over the years.

Members of the Character Counts! Advisory Council realize that such growth could not be achieved without the support of the community. Therefore, each year they present the “Community Award” to a person, business, or organization who has made a difference in the county and models the Six Pillars of Character on a daily basis.

This year, Wayne Humphries, co-chair of the Character Counts! Advisory Council, presented the Character Counts! Pillar of Character Community Award to Janet Lee Akers who was nominated by her sister, Judy Edelheit. Akers has worked for Chesterwye Center, Inc for over 35 years, caring for adults who have developmental and intellectual disabilities. In the words of her sister, “She has a special gift and relationship with her clients and … also takes care of individuals with specials needs in her home. She has touched the hearts and lives of all that know her with her giving and caring heart.” Akers has also volunteered for causes such as Relay for Life, Christmas in April, Donate Life, and the Red Cross. Her sister emphasized that Akers has been a strong mentor for their family and the community.

Carter remarked, “The Pillar of Character Community Award is special to the Character Counts! Advisory Council as it is community driven. Community members nominate the recipient which fits beautifully with this grassroots character initiative in our county. It is due to people like Janet Akers that positive character is modeled for other community members of any age. The old adage that actions speak louder than words is very pertinent to the Character Counts! message. All community members can support one another in practicing their character daily even when no one is looking. So be sure to start thinking of whom you might nominate for next year’s award.”

Members of Karey Anne Coppage’s second grade class at Centreville Elementary School were also present at the Commissioners’ Meeting to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Character Counts! With the help of their Character Counts! coach, Mary Ruth Meredith, they wrote the Proclamation declaring Caring to be the Pillar of the Month for December. Commissioner Phil Dumenil read their Proclamation aloud and the students recited a popular Character Counts! song for the Commissioners and audience.

The Character Counts! Advisory Council would like to thank the County Commissioners and the many volunteers and supporters of Character Counts! for a successful twelve years and looks forward to continuing to grow character education in our county.

If you are interested in becoming a character coach, mentor, or would like further information about the Character Counts! program, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677.


Wanted: Character Coaches

anted: Character Coaches

Where: Kent Island High School, 9th grade 2x a month


Matapeake Elementary

Matapeake Middle

Bayside Elementary

Grasonville Elementary

Our kids are waiting for you to help them build their character foundation.

Call Jacki Carter 410-758-6677 or email jcarter@qac.org

Back to School Empowerment Rally is a Success!

By Ashley Winterstein

The Back to School Empowerment Rally is an annual event organized by the Abundant Life Restoration Center (ALRC) in Centreville to encourage and empower children and young adults in the area to achieve their academic goals. Over 400 back packs filled with school supplies have been distributed since 2004 and numerous activities organized as part of the annual rallies to encourage participation and attendance.

This year’s event, sponsored by the Abundant Life Restoration Center, Community Mentoring Partnership, Faith Tabernacle Holy Church, the Queen Anne’s County Council for Children & Youth, and the local Faith Community, was the most successful one yet. These organizations united to gather supplies and collect donations from community members to fill book bags with school supplies. All 5 locations of CNB Bank in Queen Anne’s County served as drop off locations for the supplies.

The 2012 Rally was held at Millstream Park in Centreville on Saturday, August 18, 2012 from 12-2pm. Pastor Anthony Reed of Abundant Life Restoration Center spoke to the attendees on the theme, “Geared for Excellence,” in hopes of encouraging students and their parents to set higher goals both academically and spiritually.

College and apprentice representatives also set up tables and distributed pertinent information to the attendees. The Chesapeake College Adult Education Program and a representative from Sojourner-Douglass College distributed materials and the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations’ Division of Labor and Industry sent brochures and math tests.

The CommUNITY Mentoring Partnership also sponsored a local magician, the “Amazing Kindini” from Kent Island United Methodist Church, to deliver an anti-bullying message for students of all ages. The Mentor Board was also on hand to introduce their mission and offer information about the opportunity to become a mentor or mentee in their program.

With the free food, fun activities, and back pack donations, ALRC was hoping to assist at least 100 families during the event. According to the registration list, 182 children were served this year, ranging in age from 4 to college aged.

Jacki Carter, Positive Youth Development Coordinator, was excited about this year’s event. “It was an amazing day, showing the power of many coming together to help our community’s children and youth be prepared for the first day of school with appropriate school supplies. The CommUNITY Mentoring Partnership Board saw this as an opportunity to live our vision of adults who are our greatest resources reaching out to our children and youth who are our greatest assets. This shows the importance of collaboration with community members and groups and their power to make a very positive impact on our youngest citizens. It was a great day of “character” in the neighborhood.”

If you have any questions about the mentoring program or Character Counts! in Queen Anne’s County or are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or jcarter@qac.org. For more information about the Abundant Life Restoration Center, please contact Kia Reed at 410-739-0395.

The CommUNITY Mentoring Partnership and Character Counts! are a part of the Queen Anne’s County Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board.

“Grasonville Senior Center Receives Program of Excellence Award”

By Ashley Winterstein

The Grasonville Senior Center has become a prominent partner with the Queen Anne’s County Character Counts! program in recent years. They first invited students from Kennard Elementary School to the Senior Center to have candid discussions between the generations about good character.

Then, they decided to take Character Counts! on the road to Grasonville Elementary School, where volunteers met with Dawn Kintop’s 5th grade class to discuss the importance of FAIRNESS and RESPECT. They chose these two pillars from the Six Pillars of Character (Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship), as they thought they were completely intertwined and both essential to discuss with youth.

This first trip was so successful that the six core volunteers from the Grasonville Senior Center – Bonnie Walter, Richard Cooper, Pat Morris, Andy Hieber, Jerry Kerchner, and Sheila Stutman – returned multiple times to meet with other 5th grade classes and have similar discussions.

These interactions have been memorable for both the volunteers and the students as they are able to openly discuss issues and concerns for today’s youth and share stories about each generation’s own experiences. Respect and Fairness were not only discussed throughout the lessons, but also shown by both parties, as no one spoke out of turn or frowned upon the opinions of others.

This noteworthy project earned the Grasonville Senior Center the “2012 Program of Excellence” Award from the Maryland Association of Senior Centers (MASC). They received a plaque, which proudly hangs at the Senior Center, and a check for $100.

The Character Counts! Advisory Council would like to thank the Grasonville Senior Center for their partnership and the volunteers for giving so freely of their time and congratulate them on their well-deserved award.

If you have any questions about the Character Counts! Program in Queen Anne’s County or are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Jacki Carter at 410-758-6677 or jcarter@qac.org. For more information about the Grasonville Senior Center, please contact Ann Martin at 410-827-6010. Character Counts! is a part of Queen Anne’s County Community Partnerships for Children and Families, our local management board.

In photo: Grasonville Senior Center Award Jerry Kerchner, Bonnie Walter, Sheila Stutman, Pat Morris, Andy Hiebler, Richard Cooper