participating in a program that rewards their good behavior. The program titled, Character Counts, focuses on ‘catching’ students demonstrating one of the six ethical values everyone can agree on.
Amy Nelson, South Bend Schools Guidance Counselor, and Gracie Manlow, AmeriCorps Representative, are coordinating the previously successful platform.
Character Counts was a program that began last winter by some of faculty at South Bend.
“The goal is for students to demonstrate good character traits when they think no one is watching,” said SBHS Principal Jason Nelson.
The Six Pillars of Character from the Josephson Institute: Center for Youth Ethics is the inspiration behind Character Counts. The key components of the program are trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
When a teacher or staff member at the school notices a student expressing one of the specific character qualities, they hand the students an initialed business card. Once per week during lunch hour, Manlow will open a Character Counts store. Items such as chips, gum, hats, sock and sports beverages are available for students to purchase with their cards. Students who buy anything from the store will be entered to win raffle prize mid semester.
At the end of the school year, Nelson and Manlow will be hosting a BBQ for the students who have accumulated the most cards through the year.
“This will be an opportunity for the students to have fun and reap the benefits of their good character traits,” Manlow said. “If they [students] are invited to the BBQ, they should be very proud of themselves.”
Character Counts wouldn’t be possible without donations from local and sponsoring businesses. The program is currently looking for more donations to keep the rewards portion active.
If you would like to donate or receive more information about the program, please