30 Ways Mayors & Local Government Can Promote Good Character

30 Ways Mayors & Local Government Can Promote Good Character

By Tom Lickona, Director; Center for the 4th and 5th R’s


1. Join an organization that promotes character, e.g., Character Counts Coalition (310-306-1868) or Character Education Partnership (800-988-8081).

2. Issue a Mayor’s/City Council Proclamation endorsing the target character traits and encouraging all employees and citizens to model and promote these traits.

3. Take part in CHARACTER COUNTS WEEK (3rd week of October); encourage schools, families, and community groups to do activities that promote character.

4. Create a leadership group from all parts of the community; provide character education training with a commitment from a nucleus to serve as trainers.

5. Sponsor a Community Summit on Character Education; invite government leaders, business people, youth group leaders, clergy, parents, educators, and youth. Focus: What character traits does the community want its youth and adults to possess? How can the schools, families and community foster these traits?

6. Assess community needs and character resources.

7. Establish different committees (e.g., on schools, families, youth organizations, sports, the media) to deal with different aspects of the character challenge.

8. Ask major employers and service clubs to help fund the effort; ask printers to donate printing of storefront posters, flyers, school cafeteria placemats, etc.

9. Ask the Chamber of Commerce to promote the traits.

10. Ask youth organizations such as Scouts, 4-H, camps, sports leagues, and after-school care programs to incorporate the target traits into their activities.

11. Train adult mentors to promote the character traits.

12. Ask all schools, K-12, to infuse the character traits into their daily curricular and extracurricular activities.

13. Help community groups exchange character ideas; collect successful strategies in a Book of Character.

14. Arrange for local media coverage of how schools and community groups are promoting character.

15. Ask the local newspaper to run a series of articles, each focused on a particular trait and spotlighting exemplary students or other community members.

16. Have the Police Department sponsor a ‘Do the Right Thing’ program honoring young people for acts of good character.

17. Have City Council present certificates of youth and other groups that perform public service; give a special monthly award to a Person of Character.

18. Challenge all public employees, including candidates for office, to model the target traits.

19. Display the target traits, a character logo, and pertinent quotes wherever possible: in the Mayor’s office, City Hall lobby and Council Room; on city busses, trucks, pavilions, parade floats, fair exhibits,
and school marquees.

20. Have all computers in city/county offices display the monthly trait and a quote when employees log on.

21. Ask businesses to display the monthly trait in their storefronts and in the workplace environment.

22. Use the traits as employee performance expectations; ask employers to incorporate the traits into interviews.

23. As mayor, visit schools to support character efforts.

24. Invite a state or U.S. senator or representative to speak at a community event on the importance of good character; get a prominent sports figure to endorse your effort. Invite school and community groups to City Hall to describe their character education efforts; use the Community Access Channel to televise these reports.

25. Create a Teen Council to advise the Mayor and City Council on youth matters. Work with youth to create a teen center.

26. Work with schools and community agencies to expand students’ opportunities for service-learning.

27. To discourage gang membership, seek to involve all middle school students in an after-school club or sport. Teach existing gangs how to resolve conflicts.

28. Ask faith communities to incorporate the traits into sermons and religious instruction.

29. Sponsor a Random Acts of Kindness Week or Month.

30. Create a community Family Resource Center that provides parent education and family counseling; encourage parents to read their children books that build character; provide list of recommended books.